It’s 5:30 am on Monday morning as I begin to write this. I have been awake since 4 am. I am tired but I think I just have too much on my mind and on to do list to go back to sleep. Everything on that list to do isn’t something that I can do without waking up the rest of the family as well so I figured I would update my blog. I woke up remembering that yesterday it was my step-father’s birthday and my nephew’s birthday. I remembered that it was November 17th but it didn’t hit me until 4 am this morning that I forgot to call them and wish them a happy birthday. I feel like such a heel! Especially since Bob (my step-father) does so much for me and is a wonderful part of my life. I will have to call and beg for their forgiveness later on today.
Things have been incredibly busy lately. I seem to be going through the motions of every day life but a little lost along the way. I am missing my Rosabell and think of her every day. My other dog Gina is a little lost too without her wrestling buddy and playmate. Gina has always been a friendly and loving dog but since we lost Rosabell, she just doesn’t seem to have the tolerance and patience with anyone except me. I guess dogs grieve like people do. We all miss Rosabell.
Christmas shopping season is here and so are the Christmas craft fairs as well. I am headed this weekend to Harrisburg, Pa for a holiday craft fair at Central Dauphin High School on Saturday. I have been making soap, wrapping soap, and labeling soap for the past two months in preparations for the Christmas season. I have also been making dishcloths, soap bags, wash cloths, and homemade bath saltsas well. No one has any idea how much work goes into a craft show until you decide to become a vendor at one. I’m not complaining though…it is far better than having a 9 to 5 job. Well, at least for me anyway. I am going to spend the night at my parent’s house in Harrisburg and then my Mom will spend the day at the craft fair with me. It will give me a nice break from the farm.
As soon as I get back I will begin preparations for Dicken’s of a Christmas in Wellsboro. So I will be back to wrapping and labeling in no time. I also just finished two more quilts to take to the craft fairs. I sold all of my quilts this year except for one. So at least I will have a couple to take along to Dickens.
Now for the really big news…Vince and I are purchasing Heather Ridge Dairy and Creamery! We are so excited that I can’t even put it to words for you. The creamery is currently a cow dairy but we are in the process of converting it over to a Grade A goat dairy. We have been speaking with the State of Pa and have begun the process of getting out licensing. The state actually says it won’t be a big deal at all since it is already up to code, etc. Our goat herd will be getting their testing done this week for TB and Bruc. We will be getting our raw milk license to sell raw milk. We will also be making raw milk cheese as well. The farm already has a store on the premise with a window to watch the cheese being made. In the store we plan on selling not only our cheese and milk but Tioga County beef, pork, lamb, maple syrup, honey, fresh produce, and of course my soaps as well as quilts and other crafts. We also we add seasonal items such as apples and pumpkins in the fall, etc. What cheeses are we going to make? Cheddar, Colby’s and Jacks, flavored cheese such as garlic, pepper, etc., and traditional Italian cheeses. We are going to make Parmesan, Romano, locatelli, and provolone to name a few. I am currently working with a goat dairy in Italy and we are going to share cheese recipes with each other. He plans on making american, cheddar, colby’s and jacks over in Italy while I will try my hand at the traditional Italian cheeses here. I would love to make mozzarella but need some special equipment to make it. I am hoping that in the future I can add this cheese to the list that we make. I am not sure that it would last too long here though since everyone in my family LOVES mozzarella cheese.
The farm also has a beautiful view of the Pa mountains, automatic heated waters in the barn (no more hauling buckets morning and night in the dead of winter), and a gorgeous Victorian style home. I just love old homes. The older the better. They have so much character and will stand longer than anything built today. There is a lot of things we want to change but most of it is cosmetic which we will tackle a little bit at a time.
Purchasing this place means I need to sell my home and farmette that we are in now. We are in the processing of putting a fresh coat of paint on all the rooms, finishing the kitchen remodel and replacing the old tired and smelly carpets with new wood/laminate flooring throughout the house. We hope to have the home on the market immediately after the holidays.
In addition to soap making, craft fairs, purchasing a new house and farm, selling my current house and farm, and preparing for Christmas, I have been busy with grant writing. I wrote one grant for a pole barn and am currently working on a grant for a windmill to power the creamery and dairy. I have about 3 more grants to write as well but once again, I just take it all one step at a time.
In the middle of all this craziness, Joey came home for a visit. I love having him home. It just feels like we are a whole family again when he is here. He doesn’t get Thanksgiving or Christmas off but I understand that he is a Marine first and has a job to do. It will be tough though to not have him here during the holidays.
To top it all off, I am just getting over a second round of a nasty cold that my daughter Katie decided to give to me. It always seems I get a good cold when I have too much to do.
Anyway, dreams do come true! I never thought I would have my little dairy, creamery, and farm store. I just can’t until we are all moved and settled in. Hey, anyone want to buy my house?