September 24, 2009
September 21, 2009
We're sitting here unloading in Lebanon. It was going to be too late to see my sister, so I told her to stay home and rest. Had I known my Mom's school would be canceled today due to rain, yes you read that right, I would have alerted she and Dad sooner that we were going to be here and they might could have driven up. On the other hand, its 9:30pm and we still arn't unloaded, so its a good thing they didn't come up!
And on to the real point of this post.
In the situation where you are miles and miles from home, in a humongous vehicle that doesn't fit easily in shopping center parking lots, and have just run out of dog food...where is the best place to be?
delivering to a pet food plant
Yes that's right! "Mom" forgot to bring the extra dog food with us. And ironically, as the bag became more and more bare, the Crested kids developed a rather ravenous appetite. Do they have a 6th sense that tells them the food is almost gone so they should shovel it in as fast as possible?
I've been watching for a PetCo all the way from California! Haven't seen one that I can get in yet, that was open! I know that I can get what I feed the girls at PetCo. At home I get it at a small, privately owned pet store, but PetCo does carry it.
Anyway, as luck would have it, we're sitting here unloading meat and bone meal at the Nutro Pet Products plant in Lebanon, TN and we are literally surrounded by pallets of stacked Nutro dog food. Its not my favorite food. I used to feed it, before I found better things, but I'll take it over anything I can get at Walmart, which was looking like what I was going to end up with! And I confirmed that choice with my puppy expert, Rachelle.
But Nutro saved us! We are now the proud owners of two 10 pound bags of small bite dog food. The girls are intensely interested in the new bags, and not understanding why I'm not dishing it up! I just figured, if a new food upsets tummies, like its prone to do, why not let that disaster happen tomorrow instead of tonight..the first night of a full night's sleep while PARKED since last Wednesday!
So anyway...Hurray for Nutro! Thank you for saving the day! Weren't we lucky! You can't convince me that God doesn't watch what's going on and take care of his creation...even if it is to provide dog food for three naked pups who have a absent minded "Mom."
September 20, 2009
I didn't notice the little bug, till after I took the shot, but decided he was kind of cute in there. So he got to be featured in Sunday Stills.
For more Sunday Stills, follow this link.
September 17, 2009
Recently on TV we've seen a few commercials by CSX. In these commercials they are advertising that CSX railway can carry the load of 250 trucks, and wouldn't that make your drive so much nicer! The commercials are very nicely done, and I don't deny that when I'm in my car, I don't enjoy driving around the big trucks.
But it really bothers me because their add campaign seems to be suggesting that if more people would ship on rails, and not use trucks, then you wouldn't have to drive with trucks during your travels, and the road wouldn't be so congested.
Here is what makes me mad. First of all, they CAN carry all those loads and many truckign companies are using the railways to get their shipments cross country. Thats all find and good.
But next time your out in your car, take a look at where the congested traffic is. Where do you feel most squeezed in and where are you forced to drive in close proximity to trucks. Its not out on the open road. Its in the urban areas, in the cities.
Shipping by rail isn't going to clear up any of that congestion! Sure you can ship by rail, but how does your stuff get from the train to the warehouse to the store???? Cause the train isn't going to be able to do that! So the trucks are still there, still on the road, in the city and urban areas where the congestion issues are!
And let me just say that container haulers...the ones that haul the containers from the rail and ship yards to the warehouses...are some of hte most rude, aggressive, dangerous drivers I've ever driven around. They scare me and Malcolm, so I assure you, you don't want to drive around them!
It just rubbed me the wrong way. I feel like they arn't telling the whole story and misleading the public, making truckers looks like the bad guys.
Thanks for listening!
September 15, 2009
I love honey! Its a great natural food, satisfies the sweet tooth, and has so many benefits. Supposedly if you use local honey it helps with allergies, as it was made from the pollen of local plants. So it acts kind of like an immunization for allergies. Being a big allergy sufferer, in my Tennessee days anyway, I was all for anything that would help.
When we lived in Georgia, Malcolm and I had a bee hive. It was so much fun watching our little colony come and go in their busy bee day. We didn't harvest any honey because the first year they had to build their reserves to get them through the winter, and by the next spring they had died or left because we got infected with a fungus. My parents started a hive the same time we did, and they harvested honey a couple of times, getting several gallons it! Unfortunately, their bees moved away before they realized what was happening, so they are now honeyless too.
Store bought stuff, though still tasty, just isn't the same as local, home produced honey, and I haven't found a local producer yet. I need to ask around and find out if anyone has bees.
Anyway, in honor of National Honey Month, I'm sharing this recipe that I prepared this past weekend for breakfast. It was yummy, and perfect with a cup of hot tea to celebrate the coming of fall.
September 14, 2009
We have electric heat that we leave set on about 50 to keep the pipes from freezing while we're gone, but when we're home we pretty much heat with our pellet stove. It does an amazing job. We also have a wood burning stove upstairs that takes normal wood logs, and we use it when its really cold to knock the chill off when we get home. Nothing like looking winter in the face, knowing you have your wood supply put in!
This is my girls going to "Daddy" to show him what "Mommy" did to them, assuming he's going to sympathize and take the clothes off for them. Little do they know it was he that told me to dress them. I was going to let them go naked, but they looked so cute in their jammies, he wanted them to wear them, and it was cold enought that Paris was shivering, so she really did need them anyway.
Found time to do a little project I've had in mind. Last winter when we got a load of wood for the stove, Malcolm picked out a nice piece of cedar for me. And this weekend, we finally got around to making the bird feeder I had seen pictures of. I like mine even better than the photograph I'd seen. It has holes drilled in it and you stuff the holes with suet.
Its supposed to draw in wood peckers and nut hatches, but since we have more finches and sparrows than anything else, Malcolm added some perches to it for those little guys. I had actually not seen any woodpeckers, but the next morning, ironically, I caught a little Downy woodpecker inspecting my porch railing (no no no little one!) and then later this Flicker took a sip out of my front birdbath. Never saw anyone use the new feeder, but it takes a few days for them to find stuff.
Left Sunday around 4:00pm and drove about 400 miles to deliver this morning in Powers Lake, ND. We then drove back to Montana, just on the border, and reloaded with peas.
Dallas said "Peas please!" and so we're on our way. We just stopped here in Mission, SD which is on the Rosebud Reservation. We'll camp out here for a few hours and then start again, landing in Dallas on Wednesday morning.
Till then, here's a parting shot of the hood ornament on the truck as we sail down the road.
September 13, 2009
This old relic used to provide transportation, but now sits in a pasture in Idaho, watching modern day vehicles fly by.
Its small...but there is a plane in this picture.
Its a squeeze to get in two people, but I've done it. Also, he's driving down the road, kind of, so technically I'd consider it a vehicle of transportation, at least for the moment.
N0, I did not hang our the door to take this. I just took a picture of the image in the passenger side mirror. The new truck has so much power, we get to pass everyone on the hills. This is going up the 7% grade called "Norris Hill" between Ennis and Norris, MT. We passed them all, even fully loaded at 80,000lbs.
Also a squeeze to get two people in, and I considered it transportation because they used to have to walk to harvest grain, swinging their scythes. But now look....riding in comfort around the fields.
September 11, 2009
I had not heard of this program before, but after talking to the driver, I was thrilled. Trucker Buddy International is a non-profit organization which works to mentor and educate children in grades 2-8 through a pen pal relationship with professional truck drivers. The drivers are paired up with classrooms across the country. The driver, once a week or so, sends postcards, pictures, or letters to their class. The students write letters to their Trucker Buddy about once a month. The students skills in geography, math, and writing are enhanced as well as learning about truck drivers.
Last year I thought about participating, but at the start of the fall, I was considering getting out of the truck, and didn't want to commit to a group of students when I might not be driving. But this summer I went ahead and sent in my application. I've been assigned to a 2nd grade class in Minnesota. The teacher and I have already been in contact with each other, and I'm looking forward to visiting with them all this year, being involved with kids again (even though its long distance), and also helping to build better relationships between the truckers and non-truckers. I think it will be fun. I already bought my first postcard to send to them. And I maybe next spring towards the end of the school year, we can work out a load to their area and I can go to the school to say hello in person and let them see the truck.
If you're interested in Trucker Buddy International you can follow this link for more information. I think there are many people who have never heard of this program, so if you think you know a teacher or driver that might be interested, let them know about it!
September 6, 2009
I wanted to go get Malcolm from the shop so he could enjoy it too, but was afraid if I got up they would leave.
That wraps up my Sunday Stills for this week. Now I have a few pictures to post from our journey on Thursday and Friday.
We've loaded in Clarkston several times. We load at Columbia Grain and we always load cull peas. These are the broken peas that they cull out and we take them to a pet food factory in Illinois. We discovered this little place, down the road, the first time we were here last summer.
We make sure to stop in whenever we pass through. Its a little tiny jewel of a place where we discovered really great Barbeque, REAL sweet tea, and yummy cornbread! The owner is also the cook, wait staff, and bus boy! She's a real character and we enjoy visiting with her. If you happen to be in the Lewiston/Clarkston area, look her up. She's on the north side of the river, almost to the state line.
And my zinnias are still here, blooming their little hearts out. They're being enjoyed by a nice population of honey bees and bumble bees and one large and beautiful yellow and black spider who has spun her web just behind a large cluster of flowers.
We're leaving in the morning and will deliver the peas in Mattoon, IL on Tuesday morning. Hope you all have a very relaxing Sunday afternoon, and a great Monday to start your week.
September 3, 2009
I'm on FaceBook. I'm on there too much, because I'm addicted to that Farm Town game. Its really sad. I even have Malcolm farming full time now, as well as my sister-in-law. We all three spend way to much time farming. In fact, that's what I was doing when Malcolm got put out of service yesterday (see post below).
Anyway, if you are on FaceBook and want to be friends, send me an email at the address listed in the right margin, and we'll get hooked up! Just make sure you say who you are, because most of you I only know by your blogger names!
Washington and Oregon...and even Idaho...amaze me. Drive through the uncultivated areas and its a dry grassland with not much grass. Mostly dirt, rock, and sage. So I always ponder who exactly was it who came along and thought, "just add water." Because, literally, it seems if you just add water this land becomes a lush Eden. The areas that are farmed, and heavily irrigated, are a virtual cornucopia of produce. Orchards stacked one on top another up the hill slopes, vineyards, hay fields....and so on. I never tire of the smell of fresh cut hay. I still say they need to make a candle that smells like that. I'd keep the factory in business single handedly.The truck is celebrating its week and a half anniversary. We left the house Monday last (8/24/09) and I just glanced over at the odometer and it reads exactly 6000. We had 66 miles when we left home so do the math....that's 5,934 miles in a little less than two weeks. Whew! I also did some mental geography and we've taken it through 15 states in that time period. We've covered some ground!
We've also had a couple of issues. DOT requires that your business name, DOT number and VIN number be printed on the side of the truck where it is easily read. Last Thursday, Colorado pulled me in to their scale in Cortez to inform me that the VIN number on the side of our truck didn't match our registration. He was really nice about it, and walked out to the truck to check the VIN printed on the inside of the door. Sure enough, the last three numbers of our graphics don't match the factory VIN. He didn't give us a ticket or anything, just told us to get it fixed, and you can bet the next morning our graphics shop heard about it. They are mailing us the replacement numbers and Malcolm's going to fix it when we get home this weekend. I'm surprised we hadn't caught that ourselves, but it slipped by us. Fortunately we haven't been asked about it again. We were worried we were going to be harassed about it till we could get it changed.
Nothing stays new for long. On Monday, our one week anniversary with the truck, I was driving south through Oregon admiring the scenery. A road service truck passed me going north and threw a rock up onto the windshield.
Isn't it lovely? We don't seem to have much luck with windshields. We went through three or four with the old truck and it seemed like every time we got one replaced, we'd have a new ding or crack in it within weeks. Oh well...its ugly, but doesn't warrant replacement yet. If it cracks through our line of vision we'll have to get it changed, but for now its ok, and probably this winter we'll get all dinged up anyway. The windshield always looks awful after coming through the winter, with all the dirt and grit they spread on the roads.
Saturday, before the plague hit, I went boot shopping in Winnemucca. I'd been to several stores in Billings and found pairs I liked, but I had my heart set on square toes. Don't know why, but I just wanted squared off toes. I like the way it looks. Problem is there doesn't seem to be a lot of them around in women's boots. Add to that that I wear a larger size...it complicates things. So anyway, while Malcolm went into the auto parts store, I went next door to Boot Barn. Normally I'd take my business to a "mom and pop" place, and not a national chain, but I was just stretching to find what I wanted. And I had some luck!
They aren't exactly what I had in mind, but the problem is I didn't know exactly what I had in mind. That makes it hard to find it! They have blue decorative stitching. I think they are pretty......and Paris approves.
Confessing to a huge trucking sin:
We fib on our log books. The law says you don't drive over 11 hours without a 10 hour break, and your 11 have to be within a 14 hour period. Since there are two of us, we just switch when we get tired. Its kind of safer that way, in my opinion. What's the point of pushing yourself to drive 11 hours, when your exhausted, and in the mean time your co-driver is sitting in the back twiddling their thumbs in boredom, because quite frankly, I can't sleep for 10 hours anymore, and I just run out of things to do back there? So if we get tired we switch, and we just make our logs look right to make the powers that be happy.
So yesterday, that's what we did, and when Malcolm got up from a nap, he took over, but I put off "fixing" things till when we stopped to eat. Except when we left dinner, I forgot to change it, and 25 miles down the road the scale that is rarely open was indeed open...and MAD! It was FULL of trucks! And suddenly, as he was pulling in, I remembered the log, felt sick, and commenced to pray. Is it wrong to ask God to help you cheat the law? Probably so...but I did it anyway. But He didn't take my side. The first thing the DOT officer asked for was the log book, which showed Malcolm being 30 minutes over his 14 hours. Ooops....in a big way! Again, they were super nice about it, joked around with us, were really friendly, and put Malcolm out of service for 10 hours. That's what the other trucks were doing there. They had at least 7 trucks lining the ramp, parked out of service. Luckily, Malcolm has an excellent co-driver who, according to the log book hadn't worked all day! So she sweetly slid into the driver's seat and drove the remaining 250 miles to Harrah.
Don't hate us for cheating on this law. We do it for safety reasons really, because as a team we are able to be safe all the time. We never never drive tired...ever! Why do that when you have someone to take over for you? And if we are both tired, we just park it! Anyway, in Malcolm's almost 7 years of driving, that his first ever "out of service." It goes on our safety rating, but the officer said it shouldn't affect it much. We have an excellent safety rating and its something we're proud of and strive to maintain. We've been admired by more than one DOT officer for having such a high safety rating.
Anyway, that was something else that happened recently, and since part of my purpose for this blog is to educate the world about "all things trucking," I decided to just be honest and include it, even though it involved admitting to being law breakers. I sincerely hope you don't think less of us because of it.
September 1, 2009
In all seriousness, I can't believe that its already September 1st! Where has this year gone?
Is it possible to be hacking and coughing and still be having a marvelous day? I think I had a fever again last night, but today after a little while to wake up, I'm feeling much better despite the gravely voice, sore throat, and cough.
For breakfast I had orange spice tea with lots of honey and it felt delicious on my throat. I followed that up with a warm bowl of oatmeal done up perfectly. Sometimes at restaurants its been cooked so long and thick you can hardly fling it off your spoon. Either that or its so obviously the microwave version. But today's was nice and warm, the perfect consistency, with the perfect amount of brown sugar added in. Anyway, I walked away from breakfast into the crisp Oregon morning out in the pine forests of La Pine. It was so much like a fall morning and I'm just loving it!
Down the road aways, I read my friends blogs. Small Farm Girl shared about her new neighbors that plan to homestead like she and her husband are doing, and also about her desire to get some dairy goats. Oh...a kindred spirit! Other's look at me funny when I talk about it, but I know she would just sit down with me and chat up a storm about dairy goats. And then Jennifer at Ramblings of a Country Wife was showing off her new jars of home canned salsa and shared her recipe. It looks yummy. Between these two lovely ladies, I'm living my farm girl dreams. They are all the time sharing about their gardening, animals, and all sorts of things I'm looking forward to doing one day. It seems strange, but even though I've never met either of them, I feel like I've been friends with them for a long time. Who knows...maybe one day we'll get to meet in person!
Then the day got even better. Mark, our broker called, and changed things on us. We were delivering tonight, reloading in Sacramento, and then going to Nebraska for Thursday. I was looking forward to that. I like Nebraska. But things are even better now. We're reloading going to Washington, and from there going to Illinois. That's not what's exciting. The exciting part of that is the load goes past the house, and since its a holiday weekend, we can't deliver till Tuesday. So we will just have to stop at home for a couple days to kill time. Aww....I hate that...don't you?
Home to enjoy fall, eat some good home cooked food that my friends have inspired me to get busy on, and to see how my zinnias are doing. Now I have all sorts of reasons, as if I needed some, to get better fast. Because who wants to be sick when your on break at home?