Tag Archives: VA

While the hubs is away, wifey plays

Okay, well, technically that headline isn’t entirely truthful. But work doesn’t rhyme with away.

Every October, my husband heads off to his annual media conference which this year was in Harrisonburg, VA. After a nightmarish flight for a planning meeting out east, he decided to skip the plane and drive this time. So with his little rental car filled with books on CDs, snacks and the usual fall clothing, he headed east.

I think my last words to him were…I have big plans for the next few days. That always causes him some consternation. One time he returned home from a short trip to find rolls of old carpet in the front yard. Another time, I’d stripped the wallpaper off an entire room.

While I’d contemplated painting the bedroom and/or ripping up some more carpet, I decided against both of those options — mostly because I had some research papers waiting to be graded.

That’s not to say I did nothing fun. In fact, I probably spent a little more money than I should have.  Spending the money wasn’t the problem. It’s what happened when I did what I did with one of the items I purchased. Let’s just say that when one hangs a new king-sized down comforter out to air on the line, one should remember to bring it in BEFORE it rains. And when one forgets to do so, one should be very careful in removing said comforter from the line.

Here’s the thing. We have a retractable clothesline that connects from the garage to the side of the house. Well, it USED to connect from the garage to the house. When I yanked the comforter off the line, I also managed to pull the entire two-by-four off the garage door frame. Ah well, just add that to list of “THINGS THAT MUST BE FIXED.

All in all, it was a pretty dull week. While the hubs woke up to 7 inches of snow covering his car this morning, I was happy to be running in 33 degrees, no rain, and a little bit of sun. While he rerouted his trip home to make driving through an unexpected winter snowstorm, I happily chucked my wool Merrells for my favorite Chaco flip flops for a few hours this afternoon.

I filled the freezer with cider from Suter’s, dusted the entire house, washed gargantuan amounts of laundry, delivered more of the hubs’ books to a local store that had sold out of them. Then I hightailed it to Lima where I did my own part of stimulating the economy.

What didn’t I get done? Way too much. I didn’t get around to reorganizing the kitchen, and I didn’t eliminate any more “stuff” from the attic. I didn’t sell the spinning wheel, darn it.

But hey, I also didn’t rip up another room of carpet, but I’ve got about two hours to go. If I start right now…who knows?

What I really learned on my summer vacation: goat-milking and cheese-making

Okay, I’ll admit the first 2/3 of my vacation wasn’t intended to be educational although I did learn a few things while relaxing on Tybee. Helpful things…or at least helpful for the next time I’m near a beach. I now know that that the sting of a jellyfish does not always cause an adverse reaction on humans, and, by watching a few very young experts, I learned how to pick them up and fling them to the beach. I also relearned how to ride an upright bike. This was not an easy task for one accustomed to a recumbent bike, and there were a few moments in which I hoped no one was watching.

Leaving the ocean behind was, as usual, difficult. Fortunately, we had another few days before returning to reality. Our destination? Elk Creek Farm in Natural Bridge, VA, where my brother, James, his wife, Karen, and their college student son, Adam, live with a bunch of goats, a bunch of chickens, two donkeys, two boxers, one African Grey parrot, not to mention fish in the river that their property borders. There’s a huge garden which, at the time of our visit, was producing carrots, lettuce, beets, peas, onions, garlic, spinach, and a variety of herbs. There were fresh raspberries, strawberries, and if James had run up into the mountains, probably some other berries.

In previous visits, I’d learned to kayak through the rapids (sort of), so this time I had set two new goals before arriving: to learn to milk a goat and to learn to make cheese. With Karen’s direction, I managed to do both. I have proof, thanks to my husband, the chief videographer.

Milking a goat

Turning milk into cheese

Stretching the cheese

What a perfect way to end our vacation — we returned home with a large cooler full of fresh vegetables, some soft goat cheese, and a large round of goat mozzarella, which is better than anything you’ll buy in the supermarket. The ingredients include only milk, salt, rennet and citric acid. The whole process for mozzarella took just 30 minutes and the cheese can be used immediately. I’ll definitely make it again at home. According to the recipe, if your milk is ultra pasteurized, a better option is to use nonfat powdered milk.