Monthly Archives: October 2012

Ross Family Hike 2012

A couple weekends ago was our annual “Ross Family Hike”. This hike has been happening since before I married in to the family. Mike’s Mom’s maiden name is Ross, and we are the 7th generation to farm here. (I’ll put a pic of a genealogy paper at the bottom of this post. Our cousin, Ernie Ross, created it for us before he died in 2011.) For me it seems, the older I get, the more interesting history is becoming… Sure wish I would have paid more attention to the stories from my grandparents before they passed…

Every year, the four of us talk about blazing a new trail for the Ross Family Hike during the summer months so we can use it & enjoy it all year. And every year we are scrambling at the last minute to cut one right before the hike, lol. Why spend the time to cut a trail you may ask?? Well, ever since I got a group lost in briars and spider nests five years ago or so, it was decided we needed a defined path for “non-natural hikers”, like myself… πŸ™‚

We all look forward to this hike – and this year was no exception! We begin with a family prayer and share a potluck meal in Mike’s parents’ garage. Then we take a hike through the woods, and the guys usually end with “shooting” – clay pigeons, squirrel targets, etc…

This first pic shows the yellow ribbons that mark this year’s path. I’m happy to report I was “allowed” to be the “ribbon girl” again this year! πŸ™‚

I briefly lost my “title” last year because of using too much ribbon…we ran out before we were done with the trail, lol! I went a little more conservative this year, and won back the approval of all three of my boys… πŸ™‚ ;

Michael is our “extreme adventur-er” – can normally find him doing ANYTHING other than cutting briars, lol…

Found this cool squirrel-table-stump…

Love finding old fenceposts in the woods & trying to imagine how the old pasturefields used to look…

Now the pics change to the actual day of the hike. We went on a “trial run” hike in the morning because there was a steep part we needed to add a rope to. We tied a rope to a tree on the top of the dry creek bed so that we could use it to climb up the bank. Felt like Indiana Jones, lol! πŸ™‚

FINALLY – these next pics are the “actual” hike… πŸ™‚

Not kidding: ROPE WAS FUN!! Brought lots of smiles & laughs…

Uncle Bill, on the other hand, didn’t need any rope! πŸ™‚

Every year we take this same pic… πŸ™‚

Yes, Michael’s holding half of a dead rat – long story – crazy boys… πŸ™‚

It was a wonderful day for all – “Blake” (our oldest cat) says it all right here… πŸ™‚

Algonquin Mill 2012

Thought I’d share some pics from this year’s Algonquin Mill Festival. Every year, we look forward to this festival. The autumn setting is just beautiful, and the air is full of the scent of steam engine smoke! πŸ™‚

Mike’s mom quilts in the farm house on Thursdays during the year. During the festival, the ladies dress in costume and enjoy demonstrating what they do to the families who come through the house. Recently, Mike and the boys have been joining Grandma on Thursdays to work with the men where needed. Mike has always wanted to learn how to work the steam engine powered flour mill, and he is getting to do that. Hopefully, the boys will follow suit as the next year progresses. It’s such a wonderful learning experience for all – the passing on of knowledge from generation to generation.

The festival lasts for 3 days. Today, Mike worked in the flouring mill, and the boys & I worked in the Apple Butter house. We had a steady stream of sales, and enjoyed talking with the other volunteers and customers. πŸ™‚












Packing lunches…

Since we are all together most of the time, it is not very often I get to pack lunches…so when I DO get to pack them, it’s a pretty big deal, lol. πŸ™‚

Today, Mike & Michael are attending an all day workshop in Zoar about the basics of blacksmithing.

They needed to bring a sack lunch, which translates to: cooler full of food, in “my” vernacular, lol…

It was fun filling up the cooler! Fried (in coconut oil) meatloaf sandwiches (on sourdough bread w/ lots of butter), some of our home canned pickles + dilly beans, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies (made from doughballs I made & froze), one raw cookie doughball for Michael (of the 4 of us, Mike is the only one who prefers the “baked” cookie, lol), and 2 glasses of sorghum milk (I just added a spoonful of sorghum to each cup & mixed it up – a healthy, energy drink – an idea we learned from one of our customers…thanks, Collette!) Topped the cooler off with some Scripture, napkins, & ice packs and ta-da… Lunches complete! πŸ™‚

Lord, I pray today will be a day full of growth for each one of us. For Mike & Michael as they begin to learn the basics of blacksmithing together, and for Paul and I as we hold down the fort here. May the physical food we eat give us the energy we need to focus our efforts on the tasks before us. And may the Spiritual food we “eat” keep us keenly aware of who You are, and that ultimately, we are working for You IN EVERYTHING WE DO. Amen

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Goats for sale…

The boys have decided to sell their goats. Turns out, we are just not “goat people”, lol. They do a really good job of eating weeds + poison ivy IF we can keep them in our fences. They are professional escape artists, and like to bully the calves around, too. They have given us much entertainment over the years, but it’s time for them to mooove on, lol.

The black one is a pygmy – her name is Dunn. The white one is a Nigerian dwarf wether – his name is Butterscotch. They are both about 5 years old (Dunn is a little older.), and they are a package deal…boys don’t wanna split ’em up. πŸ™‚

Here’s a link to our Craig’s List ad: Craig’s List





Preg Check Dairy Herd 2012

I have ONE WORD: A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

Learned today that ONE HUNDRED PERCENT – yes, 100% of our dairy girls are pregnant! πŸ™‚

So next year, Lord willing, we should have 14 calves. πŸ™‚

Why AMAZING? Well, if you analyze: a summer drought; a new, yearling bull; a mostly hay diet when the bull was in with the herd (because the pastures stopped growing without the rain); several heifers who never showed us any heats to mark down; and one cow (the last one to calve this year) only having one heat while the bull was in… in our “man-wisdom”, we predicted a lower percentage of bred animals. How glad we are that God has His own plan, lol…

It was fun having Dr. Travis out today (from Sugarcreek Veterinary Clinic). He’s a joy to work with and shares our love of the Lord. πŸ™‚

If you’ve never witnessed a pregnancy check for a cow before, let me suffice it to say: you end up with a REALLY messy barn afterwards. So glad we only need to do this once a year, lol!

Our milking days are winding down for the year now…only about 2 months left! We are a seasonal dairy, which means the cows are bred within a 6-week window, so they get their final trimester “break” at the same time – the coldest part of the winter. We do this for several reasons. 1) So WE get a break to re-energize & work on fixing/taking care of things we can’t get to in the other 36 weeks. 2) So the cows get a break and can use all their energy to grow those babies. 3) Because it’s really hard for an all-hay diet to produce enough milk during the winter, and we do not want to feed any grain. 4) Because it’s risky to walk the animals (and us, lol) through our hilly terrain down to the barn each day when there is ice/snow/mud everywhere. 5) and finally, because this best mimics what it would be like if we just had one cow – like in the “old days”…

Lord, we are AMAZED with the fertility of our herd this year. Thank You for this gift! We pray for these last couple months of milking – that the milk continues to nourish the bodies it touches… For our “break” – that it be a time of rejuvenation for us + the animals… And for the 2013 calving season – that we have healthy moms who can deliver healthy calves, so we can continue our dairy cycle. Prepare us, Lord, to be able to handle the unexpected – and may we do it in a way that will glorify You. Amen

Grand Prize Winner = a Cleveland Indians game!

We love Wednesdays… That’s the evening we head to the Stark County Library‘s Bookmobile at a local parking lot in Waynesburg. We enjoy requesting books & dvd’s online on their website, and picking up + browsing the items they have on the bus each week. When it comes to additional reading to compliment our homeschooling curriculum, they have been SO helpful!

At the end of August, we learned that Mike won the “grand prize drawing” of the summer reading program: a bag of fun baseball themed trinkets/snacks + tickets to a Cleveland Indians baseball game!! Wahoo, lol! πŸ™‚

I know, I know – not such a great season for “our” team this year… But we are no fair-weathered-fans around here… a game’s a game! πŸ™‚

Just like a couple weeks ago, we planned for a “super rushed” day on Monday, so we could make the hour and a half drive to arrive in time for the first pitch at 7:05pm.

The last time we went to an Indians game (several years ago), we were caught off-guard with the expense of parking. THIS TIME, we did a bit of research, and are happy to report it was a complete SUCCESS! Stumbled on during an internet search, and decided to give it a try – paid only $5 for a RESERVED parking spot! It was a couple blocks from the stadium, but we “country bumpkins” didn’t mind the city walk at all – so different than the country scenery, lol.. πŸ™‚

Our seats were behind home plate, all the way at the TIPPY TOP of the stadium – section 556. It was fun to turn around and peer through the fence to see the view of Cleveland at night. Praise God, all our legs & joints are functioning properly – can’t tell you how many steps we climbed up! πŸ™‚

After about the 6th inning, the cold breeze on our faces prompted us to check out the stand-up area behind left field. We were able to stand right at the fence for the rest of the game…even got to see a GRAND SLAM…too bad it wasn’t for OUR team, lol!! The boys were pretty excited about seeing it, though – the ball landed not too far from where we were.

Sadly, the Indians lost IN A BIG WAY, but it was a fun family outing, just the same. Lots of laughter had and memories made! πŸ™‚


Here are some pics: