Double R Farm (Amish Country Soaps & Sundries)

  (Sugarcreek, Ohio)
Stories from the Amish Countryside
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Today is Yesterday's Tomorrow


Confused? I sure am. The tomorrow that I put off a few yesterdays ago is now here. That means the to-do list I didn't tend to is still there as well. I couldn't sleep last night as thoughts of chores whirled in my mind. I fought them back with reassurances that I deserve to take a day off every now and again. They persisted for a while as I tossed and turned before finally falling asleep.
   This morning I was up before the crack of dawn. Instead of the alarm clock, I awoke to the sound of a child's footsteps echoing in the hallway. Funny, once you have kids the slightest rustle from their bedroom can wake you from the deepest of slumbers. Somehow, though, you can sleep through the blaring alarm clock. I made it to the kitchen and the to-do list was waiting for me on the kitchen table, but I had other things to tend to.
   After getting the kids fed and off to school it was time to feed the animals.  Then, it was off to work myself. The list, I thought, couldn't taunt me there. As I was driving the tormenting list came to mind again, like some clattering apparition I had seen in a bad horror movie. Again, I attempted to dismiss the unwanted thougts and pulled into the parking lot of the school where I teach. 
   Finally, I had something else to occupy my mind with. The day passed rather quickly, and thoughts of the list remained hidden until the drive home. There it was larger than life taking up space in my brain. I pulled into the local grocery store to pick up what I needed for dinner. Try as I may my grocery list wouldn't come to mind. Clean the barn? No, that's not it. Trim the pony's hooves, no, not that either. Finally, I pryed my thoughts from the vice-grip that held them hostage. Hamburger, milk, bread that's better. I am in a daze as I pay the cashier and not exactly sure of what I've purchased.
 Back home I run through the afternoon routine; feed the kids, feed the animlas, do the dishes and finish up the laundry. I glance at the table and the list taunts me once again. Haven't I done enough, I think. By the looks of the list, I have not. I pick it up. The crisp,white-lined paper looks innocent enough, and the notes written in dark blue pen look harmless. It's what is written that pulls me in. I wrench myself free, flip it over and stare at the blank lined paper. Surely, I am stronger than it is.
   The paper feels light in my hand and without the words it has little power. I rip it vertically, the sound echoes in my ears. Then, horizontally and the sound of freedom is near. Finally, it lays on the table in tiny shreds rendered powerless. I smile. I am free and doubt I will have any problem sleeping tonight! 


There is always tomorrow

Did you ever have one of  those days when you just feel like you haven't accomplished a single worth while thing?  Well, today feels much like that. I started the morning off with a million plans only to have the day end with not much accomplished. A hiatus I guess from the craziness of it all. I still have a list a things to do, but as the daylight starts to fade I can tell I am not getting much of it completed. I know there is always tomorrow and much of it will get done some day. Maybe tomorrow I will be more productive, and just maybe taking the day to just be was all I needed?
For now I will be content with looking through old photos that contain some of my cherished memories of simpler times. I am not exactly sure what I am looking for, perhaps some of myself that seems to have gotten lost in the day to day shuffle. Life as it seems can be so busy, so stressful, and finding time for the simple things has been sucked away like a giant vacuum. When, I wonder did life get so busy that I didn't take the time to smell the newly blooming rose, or the sunflower that has just opened  its petals to the sun. Somewhere, some how the little things, and truly the most important things got shoved aside as I work my self to the bone trying to survive.
I flip through photos of the simple, but important things and find one to end my day with. It almost looks as though the pot of gold is right in my own backyard. Maybe I will find it.......... tomorrow.                  

Local Author Releases Dancing Eagle

It has surely been a long time since my last post. Many may be wondering just where I have run off to.  Well, I 've been writing away and recently published a Native American novel. In addition to working on the farm and teaching part time I some how found time to write.  Today is the day I send out the press release. Let me know what you think.




Of interest to editors and journalists covering local interest and literary news.

Local Author Releases Dancing Eagle

Sugarcreek, OH-October 25, 2010

Christine Moore of Sugarcreek recently released the Native American novel, Dancing Eagle. She is currently a Language Arts teacher with Canton City Schools and had previously taught at Sacred Heart Elementary School in New Philadelphia. The novel is written about a young Native American boy, who like most adolescents struggle with a sense of belonging. Abandoned by his father at an early age, he is guided by his grandfather and Uncle Black Hawk as he learns the ways of his people and how difficult keeping a promise can be. Dancing Eagle weaves the events of his young life with stories and lessons he learns both on the Reservation and at the public school. Books are available at Amish Collections in Sugarcreek, as well as on in both soft-cover and Kindle editions.





Holiday Greetings

Greetings from Double R Farm. As the new year approaches I wanted to thank our valued customers and friends of Local Harvest that have  supported us throughout the past year. Your kind comments and purchases have helped to ensure the survival of the small family farm. I am hoping that the new year will bring with it renewed strength and stamina . Many are struggling with unemployment, a weak economy and more government intrusion than they care to handle. Still a farmer is tough, tougher than many know.

We will soon be updating our listing with new seed offerings. We grew a few new and interesting heirlooms this year and look forward to sharing them with you. 

Wishing you the best of health and prosperity in the coming year.

~ Christine


The First Cut is the Deepest

It was a sad day on the farm yesterday. No, we didn’t loose any livestock, but a hard earned dream disappeared over the horizon due to this still sagging economy. For months now I have been watching friends and neighbors sell many of their personal possessions in an effort to stall the foreclosure of their small farms. Some have been successful and others have not. I have tried to keep a positive and upbeat outlook on the progression of things around here in Sugarcreek, and I must admit that I am baffled by the amount of businesses continuing to close and the number of people left unemployed. Wondering just when the politicians will take a look at the middle class plight and actually care at all.

Two years ago I read many an article about the impending dissolution of the middle class. Honestly I never thought it was possible. Now, I continually see more than just the handwriting on the wall. So far and by the grace of God we have been able to keep our farm, but I am somewhat uncertain as to how it will all turn out. Yesterday, I watched as my husband’s Harley was loaded onto the back of a pick up truck. No, he was not late on payments, nor was it repossessed. As a matter of fact it was fully paid for years ago by his own blood, sweat and tears. It was the one luxury he had afforded himself.  Although, I am not sure it could really be called a luxury since he rode it weather permitting for seven years to keep the fuel costs down as he drove to and from his daily job. A job he lost in early spring.

Selling the Harley was a cut we had to make to keep the rest of the farm afloat, and it probably won’t be the last one. Years ago we made a conscious decision to raise our children as close to nature as possible as well as to provide homes for many abandoned and unwanted animals. From the horses we rescued from auction to the many cats that unfeeling people dump off, we serve many. The sad part is not so much loosing something that is material, but knowing that other things may need to go. I can only hope that some one who has the ability to right this country will do so soon, and before we as well as more friends and neighbors loose their life’s work. That is again if they even care.

It may not be affecting you directly just now, but sooner or later we will all feel the loss of the small family farm. Think of the large corporate farms sponsored by large corporate donors using genetically enhanced seed and chemicals to “produce” more for less. If small family farms disappear we will all have to rely on their products to survive. If you know of a small farmer in your area support them by buying their goods. Investing in local farms and businesses will help support the community you live in and in the long run afford you good and nutritious food. On the other hand continuing to purchase goods from large corporations and foreign countries will only benefit them and eventually enslave us all.


Response to Women Over 40 Carrying This Country to Freedom

Normally if I have a comment to a post I will just send a short reply, but John’s post on women over 40 carrying this country to freedom got me thinking more about where we as a country are headed. In Sugarcreek have been dealing with serious blows to our economy and in fact the entire state of Ohio is in the throws of economic disintegration. There seems to be only a few states that  are not struggling quite as much as the others.

To make matters worse many I know are ill. I am sure the constant stress of trying to survive has weakened their immune systems and has left many vulnerable to serious illnesses. Now I don’t mean just a cold or a flu, but I am talking many forms of cancer and other more serious afflictions. The other night I tried to listen to the health care proposal, but  had a sinking feeling that it was just more rhetoric being shoved down our throats. Personally, I am still having difficulty with the fact that if this plan is so great why then do the Senator’s, Congress and even the President have yet another plan for themselves?

Yes, the country is in bad shape and the health care system is out of control, much like many of the other programs the government has its hands in. It is disconcerting to think that the way to trim the fat will need to come from taking from many of those who spent their lives making this country what it is today. Now that they are older many see them and their care as a burden. No one seemed to mind when they were contributing and helping  to make this country strong. Now that our parents and grandparents are older and they need a hand they are faced with a health care plan that would leave them in the cold.

I hope that women over forty can make a difference. I personally fit the description and have tried to make some changes by contacting Senators, Representatives, members of Congress and even the President regarding many of the issues we all face as a struggling country. Unfortunately, my efforts have not been as effective as I would like them to be. If any one would like to contact me and work on ways we can start making some  real changes I would welcome the opportunity.

I was thinking though, maybe I should just take up golf and perhaps there I would find the decision makers more amenable to hear what I have to say, and better yet what we as a country need to have them hear.


Thankfully Picking Peppers in the Rain

I guess rain would not be an appropriate description of the weather here in Sugarcreek. We actually have more of a drizzling of liquid sunshine. In a way the gentle rain is fitting as we deliver the last of the our CSAs this week. A time of year for us that is bittersweet. On the one hand we are relieved that we finishing up our deliveries for the season, and on the other we are sad to see it end. We will be working on the gardens as we begin to prepare them for their winter rest. It is the time we carefully gather seeds for next year’s harvest and divide many of the perennials we have here on the farm. Soon we will be updating our listing to reflect the current seeds and plants we have available.

We are so thankful that we were able to provide fresh vegetables for all of our members, and are grateful for their trust in us to provide them with the health and wealth of naturally grown produce. Thank you to all our members who joined this year and helped to ensure the survival of the small family farm. We will admit it gets more and more difficult to continue under the current economic conditions, especially when the larger farms can produce so much more for so much less. We hope you enjoyed the harvest and we look forward to providing for you again next year.

Thank you & Blessings from Double R Farm


Starry, Starry Sky

Last night I spent some time looking around to see what is still growing well here on the farm. The Indian corn is stunning and vibrant, and I am wondering if the cooler weather has something to do with it. The tomatoes are starting to wind down, but I still see another crop of late bloomers hanging heavily on the vines waiting to ripen. We thankfully have not been effected by blight, and have had many to share with friends and neighbors. The pumpkins are turning orange and the winter squash is forming. The potatoes are almost ready for their final dig, and the beans are still producing. The cooler weather has some varieties slowing down, while others who love the cold begin to flourish.

Soon it will be time to turn the gardens over and allow them the rest they need before planting again in the spring. The leaves will be changing soon and autumn will quickly replace the heat of summer. What comes next I shudder to think. There is as always much work to be done on the farm and I know it will be enough to keep me warm. I can only hope that this winter is not nearly as cold as last year‘s . We did not get a single peach or even a blossom from our reliable trees this year. After speaking with many local peach growers I learned the weather was too cold for the trees last winter and froze the tiny buds right on the branches. Any peaches found here have all been trucked in from other places.

Each season brings with it new challenges as well as many new wonders. Early this morning I stepped out and noticed the beautiful starry sky . A cool, clear and crisp morning illuminated the most vibrant of stars. I stood there trying to remember where each constellation was and what it represented. For a brief moment in time I forgot the troubles that seem to be afflicting many just now. Sometimes a starry, starry sky is all you need to get motivated for the day.


The First Day of School


Today is the first day of school for local learners here in Sugarcreek. It’s hard to believe that summer is coming to an end, especially since it’s only been lately that the weather has finally warmed up. The nights are getting cooler and soon it will be autumn. I watch with a neighbor as the school bus pulls up to take our children off to school and we both smile. It’s been a long summer. It’s not that we won’t miss our children, surely we will, but it’s time for us to get much of the chores we’ve put aside done.

We briefly run down the list of things we have planned for the day before I head back across the street as memories of earlier years flood my mind. I am amazed at how quickly the years have flown by. Wasn’t it only yesterday they were born?

More memories float around in my head; the numerous feedings, diaper changes, teaching them to walk and listening as they learned to talk seem like only yesterday. Then there were the many first days of school when we'd spend weeks shopping for clothes, shoes, supplies, lunch boxes and backpacks. It seemed to take forever to get them ready as we  filled their backpacks with school supplies along with our hopes and dreams for them.

Now they pack their own backpack, throw it over their shoulder and are gone in the blink of an eye unaware that still safely tucked inside are the hopes and dreams of their father and I. Even though one is now a Senior in high school and the other is a sturdy 6th grader it's hard not to be reflective on the first day of school.








A Simple Recipe for all Those Juicy Tomatoes

      I've heard stories about the blight that has many left without tomatoes, but here in Sugarcreek we have a bumper crop of them. We've used them in salads and salsa as well added them to very meal imaginable. In addition our CSA members and friends have been gifted with bags of them.

We decided to get creative and make healthy a tomato juice, which by the way is full of vitamins and minerals. It also makes a great mix for a Bloody Mary. It’s fairly easy to make, but  it can get a little messy. I would cover the area with newspaper before beginning to keep your table and counter tops from getting stained.

Gather together the following ingredients and have fun.

12-15 medium size tomatoes

3 sprigs of parsley

2 celery stalks with leaves

1/2 cup of water

2-3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

Wash 12-15 medium size well ripened garden tomatoes. You can use ones that have slight blemishes, but if they show signs of decay I would not use them. Cut away any blemishes and the stems. Quarter the tomatoes and leave the skins on. This will enable to you to capture the majority of the vitamins and minerals in the skin. Place them in a quart size sauce pan.

Slice the onion and add it to the pot with the celery, basil, oregano, parsley and water. Bring the mixture to the point of simmering and slightly crush the tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for at least one 1/2 hour. Remove from heat and let the juice steep for 5 minutes and then remove the cover allowing the mixture to cool for an additinal 5-10 minutes. Carefully pour the mixture through a strainer and into a quart size container. You can reserve the pulp for recipes that call for stewed tomatoes or tomato pulp.

Once the juice has cooled slightly mix in sugar and paprika. Chill juice covered in the refrigerator at least one hour before serving. Prior to serving stir well as the pulp may settle. Garnish with lemon or lime for a zestier juice.


Through the Eyes of a Dreamer

Well, we've finally gotten the rain that we needed so badly here in Sugarcreek.  The past few days it has been raining and the garden has finally gotten the moisture it needs. The weeds though, they are another story. Yesterday, I spent hours pulling and tossing them by the bucket- full. Today I hear we are set for  more rain.

The rain keeps me inside more. Normally that would bother me, but I've busy with my latest endeavor. I finally finished my 1st novel and am hoping to get it published.  No, it's not a book on gardening which you probably would imagine. The book would fall more into the category of Native American Literature. I grew up in New England surrounded by the ghosts of the Nehantic Indian Tribe, and at one point our family lived across from an old Native American burial ground . I was always fascinated with the way that they lived so peacefully on this earth leaving only their footprints as a reminder that they had been here.

If that weren’t enough to get me thinking, my mother’s side of the family are decedents of the Heron Tribe. As a child I listened to my uncle and grandfather spin tales of their earlier childhood where they incorporated the many rituals of their ancestors. You might say that at a young age I was hooked. I only wish that they had been around longer to teach me more, or at least that I had paid more attention as a child.

 I will admit that I am quite the dreamer, and these dreams have taken me where I am today. A while back I started thinking again and dreaming about writing a novel that encompasses the ideals and ways of the Native American culture. Who knows where this one will lead?




Hummingbirds, Butterflies and Oh My.....

The weather here in Sugarcreek has been beautiful with not a drop of rain for the past week or so. The blue skies and early morning sunrises are breathtaking. I do wish it would rain though. The ground is hard and cracked in places I could never reach to water. I have been watering in some areas though and have come across many of nature’s wonderful summer visitors.

Most of the baby birds are off and flying. and last year we had a hummingbird nest right outside our back door. She has returned again this year to raise her young. It is amazing to watch her flutter around and land in a nest no larger than the size of a ½ dollar. The butterflies too are plentiful. We plant many flowers and milkweed that bloom throughout the season which are attractive to both of these species.

Oh, and the bunnies. Well, they are quite brave this year. We have had many adults along with offspring stop by and visit. The babies are a joy to watch as they hop around in the tall grass that I have yet to mow. I am thinking of borrowing a few signs from the zoo. You know the ones that explain the unkempt areas are really wildlife nesting areas. We need a few  dozen of those.

Then there are the groundhogs. We’ve had one nesting under our shed for years. Normally she has her babies and once they are old enough off they go. This year they have decided to take up residence under the garage. This is not good for the structure of the garage so hopefully they will be gone soon. The butterflies, hummingbirds and the bunnies are welcome to stay.

Sometimes living with nature can be difficult. They like to dig and nest in places they shouldn’t and sometimes they like to taste test the veggies before they are even ready! The trade off of watching them and allowing them a place to safely reside is well worth it though.


Baby bunny


How to Make Black Raspberry Sauce

               Here in Sugarcreek summer has finally arrived with the    emergence of many summer flowers and an abundance of black raspberries. We have been eating them by the hand full as well as sharing with neighbors.  

Just the other day we had one of those hot and humid summer days. You know the ones you wish for in the middle of winter, but dread it when they finally come. After a few hours of weeding it became obvious the only way to beat the heat was to go inside.

I had been thinking of a refreshing sundae I had at a local ice cream shop last summer made with fresh berries. I set out to try and duplicate the recipe. After some experimentation I came up with the following recipe. It is fairly easy to make and well worth the effort. You will need the following to make it: 

2 cups fresh raspberries, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, a blender or food processor, metal or yogurt strainer, wide mouth bowl or container, measuring cup and spoons.

 Begin by rinsing the berries in cool water and draining in a colander. Add the berries and the water in the blender, puree 1-2 minutes until the berries are completely liquefied. Place the strainer over the wide mouth container and pour the liquid into the strainer. Filling it only ½ way. Using a small spoon stir the mixture to help remove the seeds and allow the liquid to drain into the container. Repeat this process until all of the berry mixture has been strained. 

Add the sugar to the berry mixture and blend or stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Cover and chill at least one hour prior to serving. The raspberry sauce will thicken and become sweeter the longer it is refrigerated. It will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator.



Plant it and they will come

 One of my husband's favorite movies is the "Field of Dreams." Growing up in Ohio the sight of a massive cornfield seems to bring him comfort. He is also an avid sports fan,so the thought of being visited by the ghosts of some of the finest baseball players to ever play  makes it that much better.

 Every year we contemplate planting a large cornfield in one of the back pastures. This year we decided to till a smaller one in a front pasture. I can honestly say that  just now that it looks nothing like a dream. It is roughly tilled with many stones and clumps of grass that need to be removed before we can finish.

Last night I was out working on removing some of the debris when I saw some movement in another garden. I had noticed some plants had been chewed and I had not yet begun the applying of natural repellents. As I walked over I saw this little guy helping himself to some red cabbage.He was within 6-12 inches of me, and  I had  hoped my mere presence would scare him off. As you can see he was not the least bit frightened. I went directly for the repellent as he hopped from the garden and sat there patiently watching me finish. 

We are a no kill farm, and many wild and domestic animals have taken up residence here. We try to plant a little extra knowing they will arrive just as the healthy young plants begin to flourish. One thing for sure if you plant it they will come.... now if we could just attract the ghosts of a few famous baseball players...





A Memorial Day Tribute

A few years ago we had the honor of escorting the traveling Vietnam Wall from Cambridge,Ohio to New Philadelphia, Ohio. The thunderous rumbling of  the motorcycles could be heard for miles. My husband and I joined a friend here in Sugarcreek, and caught up to hundreds more bikers in Cambridge. From there we rode side by side escorting the memorial to Kent State University. The photos below show the begining as well as final entry to its temporary resting place. After the ride we quietly watched as many people walked to the wall seeking out their friends and family who had been lost in the line of duty. 

Coming from a long line of military people we always find it most humbling on Memorial Day to raise the flag and salute those who have so unselfishly given their time and in many cases their lives to protect this great country.


A sincere Thank You goes out to all of those who have served or are currently serving.

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