All posts by Laurie Neal

Meet the staff!

photo (39)You are going to do WHAT with milk? This girl was watching the construction going on with great interest as she waited her turn for morning milking – doesn’t she have the sweetest face?

Still going forward!

Wow! I am embarrassed that I haven’t been on this page for a LONG Time! It has been a busy spring/early summer. Thanks to Mr. Ken Blodgett, the semi trailer cheese facility was moved to the dairy in Othello on June 4th. Since that time, Mark and I have commuted out to Othello on the weekend to hook up utilities and finish the construction we couldn’t do while the trailer was in Wenatchee. We have stayed at the Othello Best Western on these weekends and have met the great staff of the Inn. We have got to meet the folks at the Ace Hardware in town as well. We will be setting up housekeeping in a fifth wheel trailer before long and that will be the home away from home. My dogs will be delighted, as much as they love Katelynn, the dog sitter, they are beginning to mope when they see a suitcase.We hope to have our licensing inspection in the next couple of weeks to allow us to begin production. It seems like it has taken forever to get to this point. The photos below are the moving day shots with our arrival at the dairy. Thanks to my dad and Ruth, they came with the equipment trailer and we were able to move the porch in big chunks rather than in little pieces. It is a whole different experience now to be at the dairy and in the rhythm of life there!

 photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

Busy Time!

It has been a busy month of construction – I will post more photos after the weekend.  No longer is the trailer just a long tube – it is broken up into the needed spaces.  We hope to be ready to move the trailer to Othello soon and get ready to begin production.

I am incredibly grateful to Community Capital Development through the Seattle Economic Development Fund for their assistance in procuring a USDA Rural Development MicroLoan.  This gives us some extra dollars and will pay for the cheese vat I am SO EXCITED to order!!  75 gallon, hot water jacket and auto stir – doesn’t seem like life can get much better.  I read a quote the other day “If your dreams don’t scare you – they aren’t BIG enough”.  Quite frankly, I am excited yet absolutely terrified at the same time – I’ll take that to mean the dream is big enough for the moment 🙂

cheese vat


Random photos….

A couple of progress shots………..

Won't be much longer - and you won't be able to see the hole for the reefer unit.  It is destined to be the back wall of the non-blue aging room.
Won’t be much longer – and you won’t be able to see the hole for the reefer unit. It is destined to be the back wall of the non-blue aging room.
Cool photo of the light reflection on the FRP ceiling..........
Cool photo of the light reflection on the FRP ceiling……….


Chugging along…..

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas and looking forward to New Year’s.  I know I am!  Mark and son Arik continue to make progress in the construction with a bump in the works on occasion.  The ceiling FRP (fiberglass reinforced panel) didn’t want to stay glued.  It seems like everything is a challenge working in a semi-trailer!  But finally, today they were able to start putting up the plywood on the walls.  Over this plywood, an FRP sheet will be glued, resulting in a shiny, white surface that is easy to wash and sanitize.

plywood wall 2

Baby, it’s cold!

Real Windows!
Real Windows!

Mark and Cameron made lots of progress this weekend.  The floor is down, waiting for drains and final floor material, a brick red 2 part epoxy type material.  Thank goodness for propane heaters – the 11 degree temps made it tough to work but getting the new windows in made a huge difference.  Tuesday night the guys will start putting the “plas-tec” material on the ceiling, kind of cool, it is a plastic sheet made from recycled material.  Once the ceiling is up, then the wall insulation, plywood and FRP (fiberglass reinforced panels) can go up.  Working in an 8 foot wide space requires plenty of forethought on how much in the way of materials can be stored there at the same time.  The answer is – Not much!

Looking forward

Looking forward
Out the back
Out the back

In the meantime, Christmas is coming.  The R&D room is really my dining room, so each year, everything has been packed up and moved to allow for holidays.  This year, it is being sorted and packed for the final time!

Packing the Research & Development Room....
Packing the Research & Development Room….

Floor going down!

Well, the floor is going down – but it sure hasn’t been easy.  Mark has to accommodate sloping floors for drains and be sure everything fits.  It is definitely a slow process, measuring and measuring again before making any significant changes.  Son Arik gets to spend part of his Thanksgiving holiday home from Montana State University Northern, helping out.  You can see there was a fair amount of thinking going on in the second photo! 🙂

floor 1 floor 2 floor 3

Website help…..

As we are in our construction phase, it is important to give credit where credit is due since nothing ever occurs in a vacuum.  This website has been created by Jacob Phillips and Chris Gee.  The photos are a joint collaboration between my daughter Amanda and Jacob.  Their eye for photos is amazing.  So far, the website has been easy to work with (which I definitely need!) and I look forward to getting Laurel’s Crown out into the world.  Amanda is actually the Artist of the original Laurel’s Crown logo.  Many thanks to everyone – it feels like I am raising another child, it takes a village!