October 2020

Fall has arrived, crisp cool mornings and evenings, and by now, cooler days. I like this weather almost as much as spring. We haven’t had a total killing frost yet, sounds like it will next week for sure, if not before.

Last month I said we were so dry and brown, we had rain since, and things are nice and green again. It looks so much better, the flowers are still nice, mostly. Some are looking like the end of summer, but the fall flowers are nice. Last evening, Jeremy, Jessica and Austin helped me pull all the annuals at home and at the plant. They come out much nicer before they are frozen. It was chilly though; glad we didn’t have more to do. I have a few daffodil and hyacinth bulbs to plant, and once things are actually frozen, more to cut off and clean up.

The Van Buren County’s Scenic Drive Festival was the 10th, our biggest day of the year, although it isn’t quite like it was the first years.  People come from miles away for this whole county event. We make every kind of cheese curd for that day, (9 flavors and the regular) have up to 5 people working, it’s a fun day, but we’re glad it only comes once a year, takes some getting ready for. We serve cider, and of course cheese samples. This year, the Milton Fire Company had a chicken barbeque in the small park right across the road from us. You can guess what we had for lunch!  Junior is the fire chief, they had a very good turn-out, with the biggest donation yet. They plan to make it a yearly event.

Rufus and I really enjoyed our trip to Great Falls, MT last month. We liked seeing different country, it is a wheat growing area, miles and miles of harvested wheat fields. We went with Rose and the children (Dennis was working) to the Missouri River, to the Black Eagle Dam and the Rainbow Falls Dam. Both had electric plants, neither was running at the time. We also saw the Giant Springs, which bubbles out of the ground and runs into the river. There is a fish hatchery, the children enjoyed feeding the fish. We were at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center; it was only partially open due to Covid-19. That was too bad, the little part we could see was interesting, wished we could have seen the rest.

One day, we went to the Hutterite Colony where Dennis is working at the hog barn. They gave us a tour, which we found very interesting, as we enjoy history and other cultures. We also saw where Dennis spends his time. He installs equipment and electric. What a maze of wires, and he knows how they all fit together.

They also took us up on a mountain. We drove about an hour southeast, unloaded 2 side by sides and went up on 4-wheeler trails. We had never done anything like it, and loved it. We went up on Little Belt Mountain, drove in 15 miles, up to 8500 feet. Brian – 6, rode with us, Dennis, Rose & Maegan – 19 mo. were on the front seat of the other one, Mary Ann – 10, Lori – 8 and Clifton – 7 mo. in his car seat, on the back seat. The children wore helmets. We all had goggles. We ate our lunch on the top of the mountain, where the picture was taken. (Heard since, there was a forest fire near there) It was a great way to spend part of the day. We finished by going out to eat in the evening. The other evenings we ate supper around the campfire, grilling steaks, brat burgers, and mountains pies. We are very glad we went to see where they are staying for now. It was hazy all the time we were there, smoke from forest fires in the west. The last day we couldn’t see anything of the mountains in the distance, at least we did the first few days.

The beginning of the month we were cramming to get orders finished on time, even Rufus and I helped. One day we had 8 people helping in the cutting/packaging room. One person filled the carts with 40 lb. blocks to be cut, the next person cut the 40’s into 5 lb. loaves, the third person cut the loaves into 1 lb. pieces. 2 people loaded them into the packaging machine, 2 people put them into boxes at the other end, and someone took the loaded boxes away to stack, helped here and there. With lack of communication, we cut more than we needed! It was for a new order, we needed other labels, other size boxes, different scale labels. Everything came last minute; the boxes arrived a couple days before it had to go. Now all 8160 pieces are labeled, dated and packed, and shipped. We had everyone working as many days as they could. We thought we might have to work on a Saturday, but didn’t have to after all, to everyone’s relief. We celebrated with pizza for all after getting that getting that order out!

Daughter-in-law Rachel brought us some sweet potato chips she made. She dug some sweet potatoes, some kind of critters chewed some holes in them, she is afraid they won’t keep well, figured that was one way to use them, and maybe more people would like them that way. Rufus and I like sweet potatoes, several ways. Rachel deep-fat fried the chips, but it is time consuming with a little deep-fat fryer. Grandson Ivan – 18 mo. wanted down when she came, he wanted Grampap to play with him.

Junior and Crystal went to Kentucky to a cheese pant where Junior is helping them with cash flows, etc. Rufus also went, taking our Amish neighbors along to the man’s parents, about 60 miles away. The 3 children are here with me. Austin goes to the plant with me while the Jeremy and Jessica are in school. Yesterday after school, we pulled the flowers, then did the chores at Junior’s place. Jessica fed the dog and got the mail, while Jeremy filled the hog feeders. It fills automatically, but at times the feed sets up in the bin, and you have to hit on the side to get it to flow. It didn’t this time, but with no one around all day, Junior wants us to fill them, then shut it off so the augers don’t run empty for hours. Austin spent a good part of the day “helping” Brooke yesterday.  He keeps doing and saying things to make us laugh. On the first day of school, he told his mom a whole list of things he was going to do that day. He went outside and was back in before long. She asked him about his list, he said “There is no one to fight with”. At least he is honest. Yesterday he was telling Brooke something about “Grampap”. Brooke said, “Yes, he likes to travel.” Austin’s response was “That’s dumb”. This evening the plan is to feed the hogs right after school, then ride the bikes and play at the playground 2 streets across from our house. It may be too cold to be out long. Junior’s plan to be home for the night.

My Dad was confirmed positive for Covid-19. He isn’t really sick, but with his other health issues, gets to be rather miserable at times. He called me last evening, said he heard something funny, a rumor was going around that he passed away! I was glad he could see the humor in it. He has COPD, so the chances of it happening with Covid-19 added to it, are real. Time will tell, when his time is up, it is up, Covid or not.

Till next month. . . . . .                                                                            Jane Musser

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