November 2017

Season’s greetings to all our e-mail friends. It’s hard to believe we are nearing the end of another year. How time seems to go so fast, I guess that means we are busy and happy. Life is good, we are thankful for the blessings we have.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day. Daughters Jane Marie & Rose and their families came, it is very seldom they are both here at once, it makes it a special occasion. Randall’s (Jane Marie) arrived here Wednesday evening with their seven children. They live in Withee, WI, are dairy farmers. Dennis’ (Rose) came by noon Thursday with their three, they also live in Withee. Dennis does some cash cropping, mostly he is away installing electric in new chicken barns with his crew of 6, sometimes installing equipment, also. Wednesday Rose picked him up at the job, about 2 hours south of them, they came part way and got a motel. They both leave for home Sunday again. Randall’s are sleeping here, Dennis’ at Mark’s.

Yesterday (Thanksgiving) we went to church. Randall is a minister, he had the main sermon. I had 4 little boys with me, they did well. David & Daniel – almost 5, Randall Jr. 3½, and Curvin – 2 on the 28th. Wasn’t sure, thought we could have a circus but they are well-trained . Leon Earl – 9 sat with the boys his age, Sheila sat with Junior’s wife Crystal and dau. Jessica, a treat that probably didn’t happen before. Baby Janita – almost 4 mo. went with her Mom, of course.

We had a family gathering on my side, my parents, 9 of us siblings and our children. There were approx. 109 people in all, with 6 missing. We rented the Lodge in the Lacey Keosauqua State Park, it was a beautiful day, the children could be outside in the afternoon. It is a nice place to have it, also inexpensive. Everyone brought food, the menu was ham balls, roast beef with a sauce (pulled like pulled pork) cheese potatoes, baked corn, green beans with a white sauce, make your own salad bar, pie and ice cream. Five people brought 3 pies each, there was pumpkin, oatmeal, apple and one cherry pie. There were some pies left over, but the meat was just barely enough.

In the evening we, our children and grandchildren were at Mark & Mabel Ann for supper. She had Taco dip with chips, a cheese dip with fresh vegetables, apples with a caramel dip, and puppy chow. (coated cereal) We had plenty to eat in one day. There are 28 of us in all. We took pictures in the evening, one of each family, one of Rufus & I and our 5 children, one of us and our 16 grandchildren. (the 17th one passed away 6 yrs. ago at 20 mo. old)Also, we women all had alike dresses for the day, the girls did also, with a different fabric.

Today Randall’s and Dennis’ will spend the day here. We plan to make some cut-out cookies this morning. This afternoon we want to borrow Junior’s trailer and some rakes, and rake the many leaves in our yard. With some help, it should make it a fun job. Tomorrow, Saturday, the whole family will be together at Galen’s. Rachel will make the noon meal, Crystal will provide supper.

Baby Janita didn’t have a good night Wednesday. She got croupy; we steamed her with Vicks in boiling water. She was better later, I didn’t hear any thing out of her last night, hopefully she is better.

Junior had a mishap last month. He was going to a fire call, had to unhook a bumper hitch trailer first, it slipped off, landing on his bare big toe and split it open. (he goes barefoot if it’s in the night in summer, saves time to get into his fire gear) He went to the fire station anyway, it turned out to be a false alarm. Than he realized his toe is hurting pretty badly, looked at it, blood everywhere. He hadn’t grabbed his phone, came to our house (we are a couple blocks from the station) knocked on the door, waking me up. Here he stood on the step, bleeding toe, “Can you take me to the ER?” He got 9 stitches, nothing broken, had to wear a boot for a few weeks. Thankfully it healed well. He had lots of pain, needed strong medicine.

Last week his son Austin 2¾, fell out of bed and hurt his toe!  They thought it was broken at first, but it wasn’t; very bruised, however he managed to do it. His Daddy told him if its broke, he may have to wear a boot like he did. He was so overjoyed; he forgot it hurt for a bit. But then he didn’t get to after all. He is also the one who had a nut screwed onto his finger up to the 2nd knuckle this spring. Junior was fixing the manure spreader, couldn’t find a nut. The children were playing there, Jeremy had the drill with the socket on, Austin put his finger in the socket, Jeremy ran the drill, and this missing nut was inside, threaded it onto his finger. He spent 45 minutes in the OR in Iowa City to get it filed off. But the finger is fine. Austin is always getting bumps and bruises, he does everything whole-heartedly.

Rufus & I have two weddings coming up in December in PA. I have 2 widowed aunts remarrying, one on Dad’s side on the 9th and one on Mom’s side on the 23rd. They are both in their 70’s, it will seem different than for a young couple. We are asked to be cook at both, feel quite honored. The first one we will travel with my two sisters and a brother-in-law, the second one we will take my parents, maybe a widowed aunt, also. We will spend Christmas with Rufus’ family in PA, a first time for us in 25 years. Junior and his family will spend Christmas weekend with Crystal’s family in NY, the Finger Lakes region.

The first weekend of November we went to NY for Rufus’ nieces wedding. We took Crystal and the 3 children along to spend a couple days with her family. The children traveled well, we took time to stop along Lake Erie, watched the waves, gathered some stones. Would have liked to stay longer.

Rufus was in Texas last week, but for a different reason than he is usually away. He and a neighbor man took a load of Amish from the Bloomfield area to help rebuild after the flooding. They were in Cypress, a suburb of Houston. They mostly hung drywall. They did take time late one afternoon to drive to Galveston Island and watched the sun set across the water. They could see the oil rigs, about 20 miles out. He enjoyed it for a change.

We thought things may be coming together to move some of our production to Heartland Creamery to help us out with space. It didn’t work out, drawing up blueprints is high on the list. We are desperately in need of more space. Junior figured over the numbers, we are moving a bit more than double the product through it than what it was designed for. No wonder we are crowded!  Chris does a good job in scheduling so we can make full use of the space, get the work finished on time and keeping people busy. The big rush of before the holiday distributor orders seems to be past. Now the holiday shopping for the retail and mail order starts. Taylor does photography, one afternoon she, Junior, Chris and Nathan spent hours taking pictures for the gift baskets we put together. Julie, Anna, Katie & I spent the time making the baskets and wrapping them, enough to get started.

Nathan is in shipping, he works so fast it keeps Chris hopping to keep him busy. Joseph, Stephen, CJ, Roy, Matt & Trevor keep the cheese making rolling. Taylor, Judy, Julie & Anna are in cheese cutting, with Katie there till this week, she went on maternity leave. Cindy is in the office and retail. Stephanie does the FedEx shipping and puts wholesale orders together while also going through nursing school. Chris does scheduling, and is general manager of the daily operations with CJ doing the same for the production. We are very thankful for the good help we have.

On two different occasions we had people going to Kingsport, TN to a BEI class, teaching how Pal’s Sudden Service, a fast food place has such a great success in how they run their business. We learned a lot by it; in December Junior will be going for his second time, taking CJ and Nathan with him.

May each one of you have a joyous Christmas Season and a Blessed New Year.

Jane Musser