Country Markets

Last Wednesday we left for a two day trip to Baltimore.

IMG_5301.jpgThe kids’ backseat banter set the tone for the trip.

Caesar v. Shaka Zulu. Who would win?

Me from the driver’s seat – What’s Shaka Zulu?

There was an uncomfortable silence and then I heard: You mean who is Shaka Zulu?

Uh, yeah, ok: who is Shaka Zulu?

I could sense the pity and disbelief as the boys explained to their shockingly ignorant mother who Shaka Zulu was.

Kids v. Me. Kids, obviously.

We didn’t get too far up 29 before we spotted Yoder’s Country Market. Despite the fact that it’s not too far from where we live AND has a petting farm, we’d never been.

IMG_5334.jpgWe’ve been missing out!

The aisles are full of interesting things such as baking supplies like this. I’m pretty sure you can’t find “Pure as Snow Cake Flour” at Harris Teeter.

IMG_5302There were lots of baked homemade goods made by Mennonites in their own kitchens, as well as other groceries like local organic meat, dairy products, and vegetables.

The next time we go, we’ll try out the café. We were sorely tempted to try the hand dipped ice cream, but thought it would be too decadent to have it at 9:30 am.

Decadence v. Restraint. Restraint. This time.

Our greatest discovery was this:

IMG_5340It’s almost scary how addictive these are.

After stashing our purchases in the car, we strolled over to the petting farm:

Peacock v. Turkey:


The turkey definitely came out on top. But just wait till November.


Ruffled feathers

My birds v. the Rhea birds:

IMG_5321IMG_5327A draw!


Ready for my close up.


“I can’t decide if that duck is having a really bad hair day, or a really awesome hair day!”



Pig v. pig




You lookin’ at me?


Girl v. baby goat. Baby goat. No contest. She’s smitten.

We had such a good time at Yoder’s that on our way back home after our trip to Baltimore, we decided to check out another country store we’d always driven past, but had also never visited:


Yoder’s v. The Ole Country Store & Bakery? Yoder’s for the win.

The Ole Country Store didn’t have a petting farm or the crazy good Mediterranean Cocktail Snacks.

Yoder’s v. Us.


We crossed four busy lanes of traffic to go back to Yoder’s on the opposite side of the highway for one last visit…and to buy two more bags of Mediterranean Snacks!

Decadence v. Restraint. Decadence, baby.

Tomorrow: Baltimore in 2 days with 3 kids.

Hair Bribery

March 4, 2016

After months of tiresome nagging, I strike a deal with this girl:


(Sadly, the goat’s hair is more kempt than hers).

If you promise to leave a barrette in your hair all day long, I won’t bug you about getting your hair cut for a whole month.

Her eyes light up. It’s a deal!

To my amazement…she succeeds! It’s the first time in her entire life that she manages to keep a barrette in her hair all day long. Turns out, it will probably also be the last day she ever manages the feat.

April 5, 2016


A Better Way

We took a field trip with a caravan of friends to visit the wonderful A Better Way Farm and Goat Dairy in Waynesboro, Virginia. Ever since we moved to a house with a paddock and barn in the backyard, my daughter has been pleading for a baby goat. As my friend said, a visit to a goat farm truly was “a better way” to indulge her.

The goat farm is a one woman operation. Just a few years ago, Kathy was working at home as a computer programmer. She said she never dreamed she would end up being a goat farmer when she bought her house and land ten years ago. It all started when her youngest daughter asked for some chicks. (At this my friend and I eyed each other. The story sounded ominously familiar). “Chicks,” she said, “are a ‘gateway drug’ for other farm animals.” Soon all she wanted to do was be outside playing with the animals. She quit her job and started building her goat herd. Now all her children have grown and left home, and she runs the farm all by herself. Even though she has 70+ goats she milks by hand, chickens, a newly planted orchard, and bees, she says she’s having so much fun it doesn’t feel like a job at all! On the weekends she gives tours of her farm and from time to time gives workshops on things like goatkeeping, beekeeping, and soap making.

It was a delight to see someone so in her element. She knows each of her goats by name. “Hi, Magpie!” she says as she gives a black and white goat an affectionate head scratch. “My babies!” she cries to triplets, furiously wagging their little tails and clamoring for her attention:

We inquired about one goat who looked rather largish around the middle.

“Is she about to give birth?” my friend asked.

“Oh, that’s my very first goat. She’s not pregnant; she just never regained her figure after having her babies. She forgives you.”

I could definitely relate.

The tour concluded with a taste of creamy, sweet goat’s milk, which one of the visitors described as tasting like “melted ice cream.” We bought some chèvre, feta, and soap – all made from goats’ milk.

And though it was incredibly difficult to resist, we did not buy a baby goat.

Now the girl wants ducklings.

Rogue’s Gallery

I stomped downstairs this morning to confront my husband.


“Oh,” he said looking sheepish, “I know.”

I raised an eyebrow so high I almost got a muscle cramp.

“Let me explain.”

“There’s no explanation for domestic abuse.”

“I was having a dream that I was playing frisbee with the kids,” he hastened to say, “And I was doing that move I like to do,

IMG_5242and I guess I actually made the movement with my arm. It woke me up immediately,  (Ummm…ME TOO!!!!!) and I realized what had happened.”

“Well, it still hurts! Really bad. And the psychic wound hurts maybe even more!”

At that moment my son came down the stairs.

“Did you know your dad punched me in the back last night?”

WHAT?” he gasped with gratifying horror.

“Yes, that’s right, your father punched the woman who gave birth to you and your siblings. In the back. While she was fast asleep.”

The perpetrator of the nefarious crime leapt to his own defense.

“ACTUALLY!” he said, pointing to his son, “It was YOUR fault!

IMG_5237 (1)“How is this MY fault?” the poor boy asked, with perfectly understandable indignation.

“YOU’RE the one who wanted me to play frisbee with you.”

IMG_5245 (1)

reliving the shame

Sad. Very sad.