April 3, 2010

Being a Temporary HomeKeeper and Playing Cowgirl

Hard to believe we've already been on the road for a week after our last home time. Sometimes it seems that time just crawls out here, and sometimes it flys by. We're intending to work through till the end of May when we'll go home for Malcolm's sister's high school graduation. Thats almost 2 months. Lets hope it goes by quickly! Of course if it doesn't we'll still have a few fly by stops probably like we usually seem to get. Those are much needed. I know for sure we'll have one because we have to get back to sign our taxes before the 15th.

As stated before, we had a marvelous, fun, relaxing time at home, and also spent a little time at the ranch. The girls and I started our home time out by catching up on laundry...always a big job after numerous weeks out on the road. I could do laundry on the road, but I just don't like to. For one thing, its boring sitting around waiting on it, and those public washers just give me the wllies...not to mention they take forever to get stuff dried...and cost a ridiculous amount. Enough on that. I'd rather wait and have mountains of it to deal with at home. This was just part of it. The rest was upstairs waiting to be hauled and sorted.

The girls love laundry time because the laundry room, for some reason, stays really warm. Its their sleeping room, and they love when I'm working in there. They wallow in the laundry, and chase each other around, using their kennel as base.

Speaking of their kennel, I made them a new bed while we were home. Its pink and black leopard print fau fur. Its a little poofy, but they are working on getting it squished down into a nice bed.

I also baked bread, made my sister and her boyfriend's daughter matching aprons for her birthday, cleaned the bathrooms and wood floors (something I've neglected for months), and just generally did homey things and soaked it all up. We only saw snow on one day, the day after we got home, and it melted by that afternoon. Overall the weather at home was mild, sunny, and almost springlike!

While I worked inside, Malcolm worked outside. He took advantage of the mild weather and fertilized the yard and pastures.We live up in the hills northeast of Billings and its very dry. Last summer we tore out a retaining wall and it looks much better, but left us grassless in the back yard. We were overjoyed to see that this spring the grass is slowly making a comeback, and he thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to help it along some. We're also considering selling the house and moving (more on this later) so it would look better if we actually had some grass...and it was green and lush, or at least as lush as it can get up there. So fertilizer should give it a nice boost. And as soon as he finished this, it started a very gentle sprinkling of rain that came and went all day. Perfect for soaking it all into the ground.

He also spent his time tinkering in the shop, running a few errands in town, and playing with his guns. The truck had been turned into Kenworth as soon as we got home for some warranty work and an overhead (they do that at 100,000 miles..go through the engine and truck and get everything adjusted and back into spec), so he wasn't able to work on it every living moment that we were home. I was grateful that he was forced to stay away from the truck. He was too. He needed that.

This studly fellow moved in down the road. I'm not a big paint fan, but he has caught my affection with only one glimpse. I think he's a blue roan paint, which I had not seen before. He also had a girlfriend that he was in hot pursuit of. I'm looking forward to seeing him after he slicks out for summer, and also curious to see what his offspring look like. His girlfriend is some kind of draft cross, or light draft.

After nearly a week at home, we loaded up the pickup one morning and headed to the ranch south of Baker. I love this drive. I love leaving Billings behind me and heading into eastern Montana. It feels like coming home. Its convenient living near Billings, but I left my heart in eastern Montana when we moved a year and a half ago.

Paris and Ella love going to Malcolm's parent's. Carlie has always been kind of edgy about it. She usually stresses out and stops eating when we are anywhere other than home or in the truck. But this time she seemed to settle right in and I think she had a good time. They love ripping around on the living room carpet, snuggling with Malcolm's mom, and laying in front of the gas stove. Paris and Carlie Jean discovered a new place to enjoy the fires warmth...my girls always like heights for some reason.Malcolm had some rifle's at his parents and got them out to look at them before packing them up to bring them home. He made the mistake of leaving the case open and the princess, apparently too good to lay on the carpet like the others, insisted on making a bed of the gun case. Only she could have gotten away with this. She's too cute for her own good.I didn't catch it before, but a friend of mine pointed out that she's wearing her camo shirt too. How appropriate!

She gets away with a lot of things because of her cuteness. Things like this...

She's tall enough to see over the edge of the table anyway, but she discovered that she could stand on the treadmill that's right there and get a GOOD view of everything that we were eating or drinking. This became here permanent position for every meal, snack, or general gathering around the table, for the entire visit.

The trip to the ranch wasn't all about visiting and fun and games. Well I guess that depends on who you ask. I enjoyed it all as fun and games but I'm sure that my sister-in-law felt differently. And these guys probably did too.

Shoshoni and Dandi. They were wondering who I was, why they were left standing in the barn with me, and what was going on. Rachelle had left to go tag some calves with her Dad before we moved them, and the boys and I were hanging out in the barn waiting. This was actually day two of moving pairs, so they probably new what was up, but I'm sure they were wondering why we weren't getting to it.

I've not had a lot of experience moving or working cows, but I enjoy every chance I get. I only hope I'm learning and not getting in the way too much. Sometimes I feel like I'm more of a burden than help, and I know on one occasion I created more work, because I let a cow and calf get away and they went down in a low spot and Rachelle couldn't get them out. Oh well...they just got a little longer with the herd, but eventually came up and were pushed into the other pasture with the rest of the pairs.

It was cool and cloudy and on day two as we were finishing up, the wind got stronger and colder. But it could have been worse weather, and we were all bundled up for it. I had fun, and though I was sore for days afterwards, it was very much worth it! I have so much fun working with Rachelle and she's very good at teaching without loosing patience. Maybe one day I'll actually be a help to her.

My father-in-law was fixing some fencing that the snow had weighed down over the winter, but later on he came in and helped us with some stubborn pairs. We also left a few of the more aggressive mothers for him to deal with on the four-wheeler.

While he was fencing and we were moving pairs, Malcolm was working with his D-7 Cat. The neighbor had just finished working on the tracks which had been loose sense we bought it. It was like a new machine! He used it to clean the lot for his Dad.

By the time he was finished he had created quite a mountain of poo. The hill above is after the first days work. He worked on it a second day till mid-afternoon. The pile was so big you could see it from the road, a mile away. I told them they should put a flag on top. His Dad said he was thinking of putting his windsock up there.

While Malcolm and I were outside in the chilly damp working, the girls were inside with my mother-in-law who continued the trend of spoiling them. She moved the dog bed over by the door so they could nap, watch for us to go by, and rub the coziness of the house in the barn cats nose.

After getting cleaned up, we all headed to town for dinner. They had some errands to run in town, and after dinner they got to it, and we headed home.

At home we finished some things up. I had to finish the laundry we created while we were at home and at the ranch, gather things together to put back in the truck, and other odds and ends. I also had to bake another batch of cookies for the girls. I have become unsatisfied with all the store bought treats. They just seem so...un-nutritious. So last summer I bought this book. I've only tried a couple of recipes, but they are all HUGE hits! The apple muttins were a big success, but so far these gingersnaps are the favorite.

Ella will do anything for a gingersnap, and thinks she gets one every time she takes position in the passenger seat for her turn at co-pilot. And of course she does get one every time. Here she is waiting in the kitchen as I rolled out the dough. I honestly think she knew what I was making because she doesn't usually hover in the kitchen...at least not quite so much.

That's the reason I had to make more. The recipe makes about 150, but I was running low from the last batch. The things taste pretty good too! (yes I tried one) Kind of bland, but not too bad. They are made from organic oat and rice flour and have molasses, ginger, cinnamon, honey, and some other good ingredients in them.

Picked up the truck the next evening. It didn't get done till later in the afternoon, so Malcolm didn't get to work on it till Sunday morning. He got up early, and replaced air filters and did something to the trailer, though I forget what it was. It didn't take long, and by noon we were on our way to load in Billings and head to Nebraska.


Sonya said...

Enjoyed reading your blog entry. Love the little girls. I have a poodle. She is my baby.
Have a great road trip.

Shirley said...

Looks like you had some quality time at home, but talking about selling and moving is leavin' us hanging! Where to?
Loves me a D7 cat, I used to clean corrals for a living with a Case crawler. You can do some serious work with a D7.
I was in Eureka Montana last weekend. Do you ever go to the Billings horse sale?

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Great post. Sounds like a wonderful visit. I'm glad you got in some horse time, too. I was grinning seeing your husband driving all all those big 'toys'. Does he ever just sit back and relax after driving a truck every day? He must love the roar of a big engine and driving one around....even if it's just pushing poo. hehe!

The photo of the girls are cuddled together in their bed was sweet.


Meagan said...

I love reading about your time at home!!!! :-) I can't wait to see your house in person with my own eyes! :-) LOVE YOU!