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Matt Reese

I grew up on a small farm in northwest Ohio and spent most of my youth writing, doodling, taking pictures, reading and exploring the surrounding farmland. With a family full of teachers, I also grew up around a culture supportive of education. I was active in athletics in high school before graduating from Ohio State University where I studied agricultural communications. This led to my career in agricultural journalism.

I continue to work on the family Christmas tree farm in Hancock County. I live on a small farm in Fairfield County with sheep, rabbits and chickens. I have a daughter, Campbell Miriam, who was born in the fall of 2007 and a son, Parker Matthew, born in August of 2009. We are active in our local church and with numerous other organizations.

I have worked for Ohio’s Country Journal since 1999. I also write a column for numerous newspapers around Ohio, Fresh Country Air and do freelance writing and photography work. I have written and self-published six books to date. To find my books, visit lulu.com and search for “Matt Reese.”


Christmas traditions on our farm

By Matt Reese

In this year of the 500th anniversary of the decorated Christmas tree, there is quite a bit of talk about tradition. For my wife and I, the annual holiday tradition starts with a massive Thanksgiving dinner at her parents’ home where we eat heartily.

This year’s guest of honor at the feast was a 40-pound turkey we got at the Fairfield County Fair. The lady on the turkey-cooking hotline was stumped and thought my wife was crazy to attempt cooking a 40-pound turkey, but she suggested a five- to six-hour cooking time. We soaked the bird in brine for nearly a day and a half. We got up at 3:30 in the morning to rinse the bird outside with the hose and bring it in to rub it with butter and start cooking. Fortunately, we measured the oven and this poultry giant just eeked in there. The turkey was actually done much sooner than the anticipated cooking time and it was spectacular (visit http://ocj.com/blogs/lets-talk-turkey/ for photos).

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We're staying busy at the Christmas tree farm

We are having a BIG year at the family Christmas tree farm in Hancock County. Despite the cold and windy weather this year, we have been very busy cutting down Christmas trees. In the recent blizzard conditions we were still fairly busy. My daughter got to cut down her first tree this season. My 1-year-old son is still a bit young, but he is growing fast and has a bright future on the farm as well. My wife has also sold around 1,000 homemade Christmas cookies and 500 delicious cinnamon rolls (I have to conduct regular taste tests for quality control). We have been hearing similar reports of successful sales seasons from many other Christmas tree farms around the state as well.

For more about the farm, visit www.Kaleidoscopefarms.com.

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We’re staying busy at the Christmas tree farm

We are having a BIG year at the family Christmas tree farm in Hancock County. Despite the cold and windy weather this year, we have been very busy cutting down Christmas trees. In the recent blizzard conditions we were still fairly busy. My daughter got to cut down her first tree this season. My 1-year-old son is still a bit young, but he is growing fast and has a bright future on the farm as well. My wife has also sold around 1,000 homemade Christmas cookies and 500 delicious cinnamon rolls (I have to conduct regular taste tests for quality control). We have been hearing similar reports of successful sales seasons from many other Christmas tree farms around the state as well.

For more about the farm, visit www.Kaleidoscopefarms.com.

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Let's talk turkey

My daughter and her friend got to “meet” our Thanksgiving turkey at the Fairfield County Fair in October. This monster bird looked good in feathers and it will look even better on the table. After being dressed, it came in at a whopping 40 pounds. The lady on the turkey-cooking hotline was stumped and thought my wife was crazy to attempt cooking a 40-pound turkey. We measured the oven and this poultry giant just eeks in there. It has been soaking in brine for nearly a day and a half and I have high hopes for this delicious meal. Our daughter has also been regularly checking on her fair acquaintance both in the freezer and in in the cooler where it is soaking.

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Let’s talk turkey

My daughter and her friend got to “meet” our Thanksgiving turkey at the Fairfield County Fair in October. This monster bird looked good in feathers and it will look even better on the table. After being dressed, it came in at a whopping 40 pounds. The lady on the turkey-cooking hotline was stumped and thought my wife was crazy to attempt cooking a 40-pound turkey. We measured the oven and this poultry giant just eeks in there. It has been soaking in brine for nearly a day and a half and I have high hopes for this delicious meal. Our daughter has also been regularly checking on her fair acquaintance both in the freezer and in in the cooler where it is soaking.

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Get your copy of the history of animal sciences at OSU

By Matt Reese

In 2007, I had the opportunity to take on a new project documenting the history of the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University. The project has been humbling and rewarding as I have gotten to interview and work with some truly fantastc people. The book has been completed just in time for the holidays and can be ordered by visiting www.lulu.com and searching for “Matt Reese animal science.”  

Without the contributions of many, this document would not have been possible. Many fantastic people have assisted with this effort over the past few years. Dr. James Kinder first allowed me to take on this humbling and fascinating project and then spent many hours reviewing and editing the multiple drafts. Dr. Tom Turner, Dr. Vern Cahill and Dr. Maurice Eastridge made valuable suggestions for the final draft and many others reviewed and added to the document along the way.

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Lunch spot provides entertainment for a buck

After a morning of work at my family’s Christmas tree farm during the spring planting and summer shearing season, we occasionally go to a local hot spot with great food. Luke’s Bar in nearby Bluffton has a great selection of sandwiches, salads and sides. Recently, the establishment had an unexpected after dinner guest. Here is a very entertaining clip from the local television news after a deer crashed through the window of Luke’s, one of my family’s favorite lunch spots.

http://abclocal.go.com/wtvg/story?section=news/local&id=7772086

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Full of hot air

Our three-year daughter loves hot-air balloons and she constantly scans the sky for them. The other night we were outdoors doing the chores when she spotted not one, but two. Much to her elation, one of them flew right over our house. It was close enough that we could easily see the flames heating the air to keep the balloon afloat.
While our daughter really wants to fly in a hot-air balloon sometime, I am the only thing full of hot air at the Reese house.

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Ladies lead and Mac at the Fairfield County Fair

In her first ever ladies lead competition, our daughter Campbell, three, won her class. She led her ewe “Mac” for the competition and we are proud parents. We had an interesting summer leading Mac down the road, providing plenty of entertainment for our neighbors. My wife and Campbell did all the hard work, I just had to help hold the sheep, follow directions and take a few pictures — a pretty good deal for a happy daughter (and wife) and her first trophy.

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Where did all the pumpkins go?

Where did all of the canned pumpkin go?

We had a recent run-in with a bit of food supply reality when my wife went out in search of some canned pumpkin this fall. In anticipation of making holiday pumpkins pies, she went to a couple of grocery stores to stock up on this vital ingredient for one of my favorite desserts. She was somewhat surprised when she could not find any at the first store. Fortunately for myself and the other pumpkin pie lovers in the family, she went to a second store and got the last can they had.

A few days later, she was at a local bakery and the pumpkin conversation came up again. The baker said that their popular pumpkin products were going to be very limited this fall due to a short pumpkin crop. The baker said that if people want pumpkin for pies and other autumn goodies, they are actually going to have go buy pumpkins and can it themselves!

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Dude, where’s the corn? Early harvest sends hopes for another cash crop up in smoke

Farmers seem to be beating the hempiculturalists to harvest this year. Rumors are flying about that the early harvest is thwarting the efforts of marijuana growers that have planted their favorite cash crop in corn fields.

Had the potheads been paying attention the GDUs and the early planting schedule, they would’ve known better and snuck back into fields to save their imperiled crop from the early arrival of cold steel cutter bars of combines that rolled through fields ahead of schedule this year. The OCJ and OSU’s CORN Newsletter may have a significant increase as a whole new audience of devoted agriculturalists brushes up on the finer points of corn production within the constraints of the wild whims of Ohio’s weather.

Pot growers, take heed, and combines drivers should beware of any unusual side effects of this year’s early harvest.

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No flips here, just horses

I had the chance to visit the Hocking County  Fair the other day with my family to watch some friends show their livestock. The grounds are surrounded by the hills the county is famous for. A trip to any fair is not complete for my daughter unless she gets to ride the carousel.

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Haunted Hocking could make for a thrilling fall experience

Those seeking some haunted Hocking County thrills need to check this out. Ghost stories from one of the most beautiful parts of the state make a great autumn combination that is worth looking into. Here are the details.

Ohio authors launch “Haunted Hocking: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide

Where the Natural World and Supernatural World Collide”

Just in time for Halloween, authors’ Jannette and Patrick Quackenbush have collaborated to give readers a compilation of Hocking Hills’ most famous — and infamous — local legends and ghost stories. Located in the Heart of the Midwest, millions of travelers have discovered the natural beauty of Ohio’s renowned Hocking Hills region. However, beyond the miles of hiking trails and cascading waterfalls, awesome cliff edges and unique recess caves, the Hocking Hills region is also known for adventures beyond the realm of the five senses. In “Haunted Hocking: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide,” Jannette and Patrick Quackenbush present a collection of more than 55 local legends, scary tales and spine-chilling ghost stories.

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Goat's special trip to the vet leaves owner queasy

A friend of mine sent this funny story the other day and I thought it was worth sharing. She has pygmy goats and a weak stomach.

I had to take a 5-month-old buck goat to the vet for castration. I thought I was prepared, though I have never actually witnessed a “surgical” castration before. We always just band them.

I used the local vet because she is cheaper. She is really nice but it smelled like a typical vet clinic — cat litter and cleaner — and I was already a little dizzy from that. The smell of cat litter can easily make me gag or vomit.

I offered to hold the goat for her but thankfully her assistant did it. She asked if I wanted him sedated. She normally doesn’t do it, so I decided that he would be OK.

Well I should have asked if I could have had some, because we were chatting and I thought she was going to scrub him up or something.

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Goat’s special trip to the vet leaves owner queasy

A friend of mine sent this funny story the other day and I thought it was worth sharing. She has pygmy goats and a weak stomach.

I had to take a 5-month-old buck goat to the vet for castration. I thought I was prepared, though I have never actually witnessed a “surgical” castration before. We always just band them.

I used the local vet because she is cheaper. She is really nice but it smelled like a typical vet clinic — cat litter and cleaner — and I was already a little dizzy from that. The smell of cat litter can easily make me gag or vomit.

I offered to hold the goat for her but thankfully her assistant did it. She asked if I wanted him sedated. She normally doesn’t do it, so I decided that he would be OK.

Well I should have asked if I could have had some, because we were chatting and I thought she was going to scrub him up or something.

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Bacon explosion

My brother suggested that we look into trying this recipe for our next family gathering as all Reese boys have an inherent affinity for bacon. I think this would be a hit, as would just about anything that includes a “bacon weave” topped with sausage and (of course) some more bacon.

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Did Wayne Pacelle start a Chinese restaurant?

My wife was in Atlanta recently and got a photo of this now unsettling acronym in Ohio agriculture on a signed clinging to the side of this building. Pronounced “Sue’s,” this Chinese dining establishment had fine fare (including a variety of meats). My wife stopped to eat there after hearing good reviews and I told her she had to take a photo. She did not, incidentally, bump into Pacelle dining there.

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Washing and showing sheep with the Reeses

Our two-year-old made her show ring debut for the Open Horned Dorset Show at the Ohio State Fair.

Before the show it was move-in day for the breeding sheep at the Ohio State Fair. We got our Horned Dorsets washed up and ready for the shows over the next couple of days. Our daughter helped with the hose and the spray bottle.

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