New Tag Line

Did you notice the new tag line?  I figured it was time to change it.  Since I’m not running a farm anymore, it was time for me to start getting this blog up to date.  So here is the deal….

Formally the blog, in its hay day (pun intended) and at the peak of popularity, was all about me (the city girl) bumbling my way through trying to run a dairy farm.  You all seemed to think it was pretty funny hearing my tales of honesty.

When I shut the farm down due to my horrible back problems, caused might I add from running a dairy farm, everyone begged me not to shut down the blog as well.  Problem is, what to write about?  Right?

I left it open but didn’t post much.  I thought of you all often though.  I went back to work as a dispatcher for the Pennsylvania State Police.  Then after a series of several back surgeries (I’ll give you those details later), I decided it was time to go to college.

My faithful readers know how I am.  You have been with me since October 2007.  Can you imagine me all confined to a classroom?  It has been twenty-five years since I was high school.  My brain hasn’t done anything beyond basic bath and now I’m asking it to advanced Calculus?

Formerly, Bada Bing Farm was “City Girl Moves to & Runs a Farm” and now my new tag line is…The Trials & Tribulations of College at Forty Something.

So as we turn a corner together, thanks for sticking with me.  I promise to bring you up to date over the next couple of postings.

HEY YOU ALL…I’M BACK!

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New Happenings

I know that it has been forever since I have posted.  Life has changed drastically for me!  Years of working hard on the farm took a toll on my back.  I have spent the past several years in and out of the hospital trying to fix my crumbling spine.  Sixteen surgeries is a lot of surgeries to have at the age of 42 and I am far from finished yet.  This is my new battle…to stay out of wheelchair…and yes, I am winning as of now!

I had to give up the farm and my precious animals which I think of almost daily.  I actually miss the hard work as well.  I know that sounds weird to most but a person can get a lot of self worth from putting in a hard days work and seeing the outcome of all the hard work day in and day out.  I am grateful though to be able to travel and go on vacation.  It had been years since I had been to the beach.  We could never go before because we always had to be back to milk every twelve hours.  People who drink milk needs to keep that in mind.  Farmers give up a lot.

Anyway, I was approached by Rob and Donna Hostetter.  They were soap customers of mine once upon a time.  They decided to purchase my soap business and my precious soap recipe.  I’ve never given that recipe to anyone before.  It was between my grandmother and I.  I really wrestled with the idea of giving it to them but my name will be forever attached to Bada Bing Goat Milk Soap and I wanted them to be successful as well.  So with promises. reassurances from them, and their names signed in blood that they would not divulge the secret recipe to anyone else…I sold the soap business.

They are really a great family and I know they will do an excellent job in carrying on my tradition of making excellent goat milk soap.  You can purchase their soap online at http://www.badabingfarm.com.  So for all of you that loved my soap, it is back on the market and available again.  It is with a heavy heart that I wish them well.

As for me…I am a full-time student again.  I am going to the Southern New Hampshire University online.  I have a double major of a BS in Justice Studies and Forensic Psychology with a minor in Communications.  Many of you probably didn’t know that I have worked in Law Enforcement and Emergency Management fields since I graduated from high school.  (and I ran a farm too…I have been a busy lady!)  I’ve been a Correctional Officer, 911 dispatcher, Police Communications Officer, and the list goes on. I’ve worked for the local government and the state of PA.

At the age of 42, I have had to change my direction in my life.  I may no longer be able to do hard manual labor but I will return to the work force again.  My plan is to finish my double BS in Justice Studies and Forensic Psychology and then continue onto a Masters degree in Law.  My goal is to teach.  I want to be a Professor.

So many have laughed and said I couldn’t do it.  I mean it’s been almost 25 years since I was in high school.  But I know I’m not stupid and like farming, when I put my mind to it, I can do anything.  At the age of 42, I went back to school.  My freshman year I’ve maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA and I am pretty darned proud of that!

As far as my health goes…it has been a roller coaster of fun and excitement!  I THINK that we are finally at the last step though.  I currently have 6 herniated discs in my thoracic spine.  Having them in your thoracic spine is a whole different ball of wax.  I’m currently jumping through all the hoops my insurance company wants me to, to have the surgery to fix it.  I’ll be down and out of it for about a month to six weeks at the minimum when that does happen but HOPEFULLY I will be able to at least return to the workforce after that.  I would like to start some of my internships but have to have the surgery first.  It’s all a big pain the backside!  For someone who is used to working 16 to 20 hour days, I am going nuts sitting and laying around in the house!  Thank God for school!

As far the new blog (I got your message Sandy 🙂 goes…I don’t know if I should just keep this one going and just change subtitle and such since so many of you have become like family or should I just start a new one and shut this down.  I almost hate to do it.  This blog has so much history to hit.  It is my last link to the farm…all the pictures and everything.  What do you all think?

Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope 2013 is a GREAT year full of blessings!  It is bringing me my second grandchild due on St. Patricks day.  If she is anything like her big sister, I will be thrilled.  My granddaughter, Allison, is the joy in my life.  There have been days when  I have been so low and just wanted to throw in the towel.  Disgusted and miserable with pain in my back and I have thought I should just end it.  It was thinking of my granddaughter that pulls me out of my lowest moments.  She is so much fun, such a joy and a wonder, precious and sweet, a TRUE GIFT FROM GOD.  I love her so much and realize how blessed I truly am…back pain and all.

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From the NY Times’s “At War” Blog

So I wrote this back in March I believe.  It was published yesterday.  I’ve been overwhelmed by the emails and responses I have gotten from across the country.  Thought I would share it with my farm buddies.  Happy Memorial Day and pray for them all!

http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/a-marines-mom-writes/

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Sally, this is for you…

A lot has changed since I posted.  I’m not sure where to begin.

We made a family decision to sell the farm which about broke my heart but had to be done.  My back couldn’t take it any longer.  I still have a few goats as pets but that is about it.  We moved into a smaller house (which is great for the back as it is easier to take care of).  I got a job with the Pa State Police as a Police Communications Operator which is just a glorified title for a dispatcher.  I love my job even though I work long hours, weekends, holidays and rotating shifts.  Since I used to be a 911 dispatcher before I became a farmer, it was like puting on an old hat without having to handle fire and ems calls.  Sally, I could write a book just about my job.  I work with a great bunch of people who are all crazy like me, pretty much think like me, and have my sick sense of humor.  I deal with many sad things but holy crap, I deal with a lot of really funny things as well.  Here is a tip…I cannot dispatch the FBI or CIA because you have been evicted out of your apartment.  Sorry for your hard times but I think the FBI, CIA, and the alike are a little busy fighting terrorism right now.

Vince is still with A. Duie Pyle, Mike and Katie are still homeschooled but we are probably going to send them back to public school next year.  My grand-daughter, Sarah Allison O’Brien was born just before Christmas.  She is the most beautiful baby I have ever seen.  No really, she is a doll and yes, I guess every grandparent thinks that but holy crap, I just love her to death.  She has stolen my heart!  Joey deployed to Afghanistan last week and now I spend my nights laying awake and worrying about him.  My daughter in-law Annie is still in North Carolina but moving back to Virginia to be closer to her family while Joey is away.  She is a wonderful mother and I’m glad God picked her to give me a grandchild.

But, I have just started a new blog.  It’s about my journey as a Marine Corp Mom…all the highs and lows.  Annie had a long conversation when Joey left (we cried a little, laughed a little, and cried a little more) but I realized one thing.  In our phone call, I was telling her how all alone I felt and that even though my head knew there are 1,000s of other Moms who are going through or went through what I am right now, my heart feels like I am the only one, that no one else in the world could possibly understand how I feel.  Annie made me feel better by telling me she felt exactly the same way.  I have placed him in God’s care but when you have a son actually fighting a war it’s truly heart wrenching.

So Sally, that is pretty much it…I’m still a smoker (although Vince isn’t anymore), I haven’t killed Vince yet (although I have secretly planned it and what wife hasn’t?), Mike and Katie are still driving me crazy and fighting with each other all the time, my hair is still red (naturally gray now but thank God for hair color), still have glasses (but they are thicker), my backside is still wide, and I still live in Ephrata. 

One other thing Sally…I’m writing a book.  Yes, a real book.  I can hear you laughing all the way here.  It is about, you guessed it, my family.  I haven’t told anyone, you are the first (I didn’t even tell my family).  No one will probably want to publish it but if they do, perhaps you and the 10 other people who actually have read my blog over the years will be the only ones to buy it.

When I am ready, I’ll post the new blog’s web address.  Take care Sally!  I hope the new year brings you all you have hoped and wished for. 

Semper Fi!

Amy (proud Marine Corps Mom who is currently loosing her freaking mind because she is freaking worrying about her son but knows her freaking out worrying family is praying for him to come safely from this stupid freaking war)

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A blessing is on the way!

Wow, I can’t believe how much has happened since I last posted.  I keep meaning to sit down and post just about everyday but the farm keeps calling me away.

Where do I even begin?  Let’s see, the most wonderful thing…I’m going to be a Grandmother!  Somebody pinch me!  I am way too excited and beyond thrilled!  This is going to be my first Grandchild.  When Joey told me the news, I looked at Vince and said, “Hand over the wallet Grandpa.  I’ve got shopping to do!”  My little blessing to be is due December 6th.  Joey deploys to Afghanistan sometime in January.  So as sad as I am (and beyond worried), I will have a new little baby, a little piece of him, left here to snuggle, cuddle, and love to ease the pain of not having my son here with me.  My new daughter in-law, Annie, is going to make an excellent mother.  Joey is truly blessed to have found her.  She is just wonderful and Vince and I adore her.

So, I’ve busted out the knitting needles, crochet needles, and sewing machine to prepare for my Grandchild.  Vince is planning a true “Italian baby shower”.  Meaning, pretty much everyone in the United States (& Italy) that is related to him is being invited.  Let’s face it, that’s about every Italian on the East Coast and half of the rest of Italians in the entire world.  Poor Annie will be kissed and hugged until she wants to run and hide.  They will rub her belly while telling her she needs eat as they shove plate after plate of food in front of her.  How do I know?  That’s what they did to me…I gained a 100 lbs. when I was pregnant with Mikey (still trying to lose 30 of those pounds still)!  Vince of course is sure the baby is a boy.  He says it has to be so he can take him on “Pop-Pop’s tractors” and bale hay with him.  Poor kid will definitely be extremely spoiled…boy or girl!

We’ve become famous, well kind of sort of that is.  A reporter from a local magazine called “The Good Life” came out early spring to do an article on the farm and goat cheese.  Then this past week, a reporter from “Lancaster Farmer” (farming newspaper which just about every farmer in the United States subscribes to or at least should anyway) came out and interviewed us for a story on the farm, the goats, goat cheeses, and goat milk soaps.  They took a bunch of pictures and I tried really hard not to be in any of them but he insisted he get a picture of Vince and I together.  My hardworking girls have taken all this in stride.  They seem to not even care anymore when yet another reporter shows up to take their picture and do yet another story on them.  All this fame hasn’t changed them at all and I’ve been beating the paparazzi away in trying to keep them from letting it all go to their heads. 🙂

In the middle of all this excitement, we’ve been working on the farm.  This year we actually did get a vegetable garden in only to have one of our bucks get out and help himself to my beets, peppers, and corn.  My “gifts from God”, Jade and Jaralyn, have been hard at work cleaning the flower beds out that hadn’t been touched in something like 10 years.  The “junkyard” aka bucks pasture has been cleaned out.  It is no longer a junkyard as all the cars, trucks, rusted tractors, and just plain trash has all been removed, cleaned out, scrapped, or thrown away.  Vince and I are putting up fencing there this weekend and the boys will be moved to their new home.  This has taken an entire year to happen and well, I’m a little relieved and excited all at the same time.  I don’t think the boys will know what to do with themselves.  They will probably think they have died and gone to heaven.  They can thank me by giving me all doelings next year and we will call it even.

We’ve only done one goat show so far this spring.  We took the boys to a buck show and walked away with Reserve Grand Champion on our buck Bada Bing Farm O’ Danny Boy which is a buck out of my Clover and Ralph.  Don’t think we will do anymore buck shows though as my boys were completely stressed out.  They all ended up getting the runs and not feeling well.  So if the world wants to see my handsome men, they will just have to come here and see them.

The soap business is going well and sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed.  I just finished the Laurel Festival craft show which I spent 3 months making soap for.  I thought I was done for a little while when I ended up getting two wholesale orders so it’s back to the kitchen and making soap again.  It’s good but it’s a lot of work too.

I’m still always behind in the cleaning, cooking, and laundry but who cares anymore.  I get it done as I get it done.  I prefer to hang out with the goats and cows.  They could careless if I am dirty and smelly as long as I show up to feed them and give a little love out to them.  That’s the nice thing about farming, the animals could careless about “politics and gossiping” which I found there is a lot of in all the office jobs and prison jobs I’ve had.  The biggest drama around here is an eventful birth or figuring out if we are having chicken or beef for dinner.

By the way, the cows are great!  They are growing fast and yep, you guessed it, spoiled rotten as well.  The kids take their cows for walks to the mailbox (I wonder what my neighbors must think).  They also take them to creek to go swimming with them.  Yes, my kids swim with their cows.  Jade and Jaralyn are always washing their cows too.  I think I probably have the cleanest cows in Lancaster County.

The pigs arrived a couple of weeks ago and Katie finally got her breeding sow she always wanted.  I finally have a pig that I can treat as a pet and get attached to since it won’t be on my dinner plate come September.  I wish I could tell you her name but Katie and Mike change it like every other day so I just call her “piggie” for now.  Isn’t that pathetic?

The ducks and chickens are doing good too.  Growing fast and loving running around the yard.  We need to get some nest boxes made and I’m dying for farm fresh eggs.  Like everything else you raise or grow yourself, they just taste so much better than when you buy it in the store.

We did have two Muskovy ducks show up this spring.  The kids named them Bob and Tom.  Bob turned out to be a “Bobette” though.  We found her one day with 14 ducklings waddling behind her.  The kids and Vince for that matter were thrilled.  Now we know why “Bob” kept attacking Mikey every time he threw hay down…seems he or rather she, had here eggs up there somewhere.

We are still kidding goats out but are finally down to just a couple of girls left to go.  I’m ready for it to be over with too.  I love the babies but after you have 100 or so born, you are ready for a break.  Come October, I’ll be ready for it all to begin again.  I definitely have to do some really good planning though so as I don’t have any babies born when my Grandchild is due to arrive.

So you are all caught up…we haven’t hit the lottery and the TV executives haven’t contacted me to do a reality show.  Book editors haven’t been knocking down my door begging me to write a book on my exciting life and the modeling agencies have finally figured out I don’t want to walk in fashion week or fly to Milan to model for their clients.  Thank God, they were beginning to drive me crazy!

Ok, enough goofing off…I’ve got to get back to work.

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So here I am…still kicking

I know it’s been awhile but you have to cut me a break…I run a farm ya know 🙂  A lot has changed both in my personal life and around the farm.  Here is a quick run down.

We are still kidding out does but have about a 4 week break before the next batch goes.  Gives us a chance to catch our breath again.  Taking care of babies can be a drain on the energy supply.  Lack of sleep slowly catches up with you, especially when your not in your 20’s anymore.  All the kids are growing well and I have some very nice does this year I am pretty excited about showing.

We are taking 3 of our boys to a buck show in MD.  Ralph, Danny Boy, and Sid are making the trip.  Should be fun trying to show bucks.  We’ve never done it before and depending on how it goes, we may never try and do it again 🙂

We recently purchased Jersey cows as well.  A couple of steers in addition.  Vince would like to milk 20 of them in addition to milking the goats.  God help me!  Yeah, I know…I’m supposed to be cutting back and taking it easier.  I guess that will come when I’m either in a wheelchair or dead. 

We have chickens again (just 6) and I got Katie 4 ducklings too.  We love our ducks (they are just pets but we do eat their eggs) & there is something relaxing about watching chickens run around your yard.  Heaven knows I need more relaxing things in my life (especially since Vince has me milking cows too).  The pigs come in a month and new this year…He is buying Katie a breeding sow because she always wanted to breed pigs.

Before you all think I’m nuts I did put my foot down on something.  Katie has been begging to get a horse and I won’t budge.  No freaking horses.  I told her to take riding lessons and if she is really into it (which I am hoping that will be enough to satisfy her “horse fix”), then she could get one with the complete understanding that she will be the absolutely only one to take care of it.

Birthday season came and went without strapping up too much.  I even got a new camera for my birthday.  It is a professional digital camera, a Cannon Rebel, which I think has been my favorite birthday or Christmas present in many, many, many years. 

Joey was transferred from Camp David to Camp Lejeune and will deploy to Afghanistan the end of January.  This has been the toughest time for me.  I was used to having him close by and seeing him atleast once a month for a weekend.  Now I won’t get to see him near as often.  I am going through what my family calls “Joey withdraw”.  I have no idea how I will handle him deploying.  Heavy drinking maybe?  How do you crawl into your warm safe bed each night knowing as a mother that one of your children isn’t safe?  I am spending so much time praying already.  My faith will pull me through.

My website it down.  I haven’t had a moments peace to work on it.  I’ll have it up and running as soon as I can.  Right now I am preparing for the 2010 Laurel Festival in Wellsboro.  I will only be doing a few craft fairs this year.  I want to take the kids to Gettysburg, Philadelphia, Valley Forge, Hershey Park, and hopefully a trip to NC to see Joey.  So I am only going to do a few goat shows and craft shows this year. 

Ok, so that’s the update.  Hopefully things will slow down a little bit and I post more often, get the website working again, and post some of the 700 pictures I’ve taken with my new camera.

Hope all is well in your life…

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United States Health Care

Want to know my thoughts on Health care? 
 
So they just passed a health care plan written by a committee whose Chairman says he didn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that exempts themselves from it, signed by a President who smokes, with funding administered by a Treasury Chief who didn’t pay his taxes, all to be overseen by a Surgeon General who …is obese,…. and better yet it is to be financed by a country that’s broke!  God Bless America!
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
 
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