October 21, 2008

My Ella

I am very excited to introduce our new little girl.
Elegant Debutant of Creekside
Ella is a black and white hairy hairless Chinese Crested girl. She is going to be so pretty...well they all are anyway, but I think she'll be especially pretty, at least to me!
Ella will be joining us sometime around Thanksgiving when she's old enough to leave her mommy. And when she has matured enough, I am considering showing her. I have thought that it might be fun to try it, and Ella's my girl.
Paris and I are seriously considering staying home next year. I will be teaching, provided a position is available that I'm interested in. Otherwise I'll be looking for something else, or continuing to drive with Malcolm, at least through the fall run of cattle. Carlie Jean will be staying in the truck with Malcolm, as she is his dog after all. She loves me, but Malcolm hung the moon and she'd be lost without him by her side all day long.
Having made those decisions and plans, we quickly realized that Paris would not be able to stay home by herself while I'm at work in town. Therefor it became apparent that it was time to add to our little growing family. And since it is so incredibly easy and fast to "house train," or in our case truck train, the dogs when they are with us 24/7, we are going to bring Ella into our family now so she can begin to learn her appropriate behaviors and roles. Later she'll stay home with me and Paris as Paris's companion, and my little show girl.
Elegant Debutant of Creekside

*I'm still working on the name, but I like Creekside Cresteds. It has a nice ring, and I was living next to Chickamauga Creek when my fettish began. Anyway, unless I find its already used, or think of something I like better, that will be our name.

October 16, 2008

Poodle Puppies

If you havn't checked out the Darling Poodles lately, you ought to go visit their site. There are lots of new babies and they are SO cute. Rachelle just took their halloween pictures and posted them. They are just adorable.

Paris and Carlie..getting in on the Favorite Things

I've been working on thinking of things to put into my "Favorite Things" blog entries. Its time for another one. But I've not got it all together yet. However, while I've been thinking on it and discussing it with the girls, they decided that they wanted to do a "Favorite Things" blog entry. They said the knew the people might not be as interested, but they know that Tuffy, Bonnie,

Molly, and a few others, occasionally look over the shoulder of their ladies and men while the blog is being read, and they might like to try some of the girls favorite things. So, I told them I would do the writing for them if they told me what they wanted to say. (its not easy for them to type with their paws)

Paris and Carlie have lots of things they love, but most of all is their mommy and daddy. Paris is a die hard "mommy's girl." She loves her daddy too, but prefers me over anyone else. If she could, she'd just crawl into my purse and go everywhere with me. I hate leaving her because she gets so traumatized. Last Thanksgiving when I visited Tennessee and left Malcolm and the girls at home, Paris was sick all week from stress. And one time we left the girls with Rachelle while we were in Billings over night, and they were both sick all night long. They are attached to us...this breed seems to do that.

Carlie Jean is 100% tomboy. She looks so dumb in a dress that I don't even have one for her. And being the rough and tumble girl that she is, she is totally head over heels in love with Maclcolm. She likes to sit and cuddle with me, but no one even holds a candle to her daddy. I think its interesting that we gave her a tomboyish name, not even having had her a couple of days so there was no way to know she was like that. She just looked like that name. Thank goodness I didn't stick with my original intent to name her Delilah or Lilly, cause she ain't either one of those for sure.

Being such good girls, they get lots and lots of cookies. They LOVE cookies. Now here is a little interesting fact on CC's. (remember that stands for Chinese Crested.) As part of the gene mutation that causes the hairlessness in some members of the breed, there are also complications with their teeth. The hairless dogs often loose a few, or many of their puppy teeth, and usually adult teeth don't come back in. I'll have to get a picture of Paris for you. She is missing most of her top front teeth, and one canine, and a few back teeth. Carlie is missing a canine, but she got one adult canine in and it looks huge compared to the two puppy ones she still has. She has more teeth than Paris, but for some reason has a harder time chewing things. Not sure why. Anyway, that said, they have a hard time breaking things up that are hard. They do ok with their food, though I've often noticed that Paris swallows a lot of it whole, I think. So we're particular about cookies, since they are so important to us (they take after mommy in that area) and these are our favorites.

These are Charlie Bears. You can find them at PetSmart. My girls like the cheese ones. They are like little cheese wafers that are soft and crunchy, like crackers. The love them. These also come in "turkey and cranberry" and "liver." We got liver ones one time when the store didnt' have cheese, but Carlie couldn't break them up, so Paris was swallowing her's whole and then stealing Carlie's. We gave the liver ones to the Darling Poodles, and their mommy said that the poodles LOVED them. These treats are supposedly all natural too. They smell just like a cheeze it cracker, probably taste the same too, but I wouldn't know for sure.

We have lots of toys at our house and in our truck. Toys stay popular for a few days until the newness wears off, and then they are just let laying around. Hmmm....sounds like human children doesn't it? Well there is one toy that is tryed and true, and the girls highly recommend it, "Ducky." Even the Darling Poodles have had a ducky. We got our first Ducky when Paris was little. It was this cute little yellow duck with a little tuft of yellow fuzz on top of his head. Paris, who was a "plucker" as a little girl (I once caught her plucking the hair from her own tail and had to remind her she had none to spare) promptly plucked all the fuzz off his head. Ducky is about 2-3 inches tall and light weight. Paris loves to throw Ducky across the room and go get him, shake him, and throw him again. How many dogs do you know of that play "fetch" with themselves? Anyway, our first Ducky got thrown and tossed into the followign places where mommy found him. The kitchen sink, the trash can, almost the fire place, on lots of furniture, into a window sill where he was sitting up looking out the window, and finally Ducky dissapeared while I was packing to move to Montana. That wouldn't do so mommy ran to PetSmart and bought three more Duckys. Then when uppacking we found the original Ducky in a box. Paris was just making sure he came with us. So now we have 4 Duckys, one in the truck and three at home. Carlie Jean loves Ducky just as much as Paris, but maybe Paris loves him more. We went ahead and got Ducky's friends, bear and frog, but Ducky is still the most popular.

Frog used to have a tuft of green fuzz on his head too, but it got plucked. These are "Doctor Noyz Toys." They come in a larger size too. The thing I think is neat about them is that their back is velcro so when the squeaker wears out, and it does because my girls sit there and squeak it over and over again, you can just take it out and replace it. And they come with a replacement squeaker. Also, you could just take out the squeaker if you have a dog like the girl's Uncle Tuffy, who doesn't like squeaky things at all.

So there you have it. My girls favorite people, cookies, and toys. Just a few of their favorite things.

October 15, 2008

Is That Natural?

I can't begin to tell you how often I get asked that.
People see my dogs and say one of two things. Either "What is THAT?" or "Is that natural?" Both questions lead to the next which is, "Do you shave them?"
Sometimes its irritating, especially when its said with a sound of disgust. But more often than not its said in genuine curiosity and interest, and I like answering and chatting then, because I like sharing and teaching a little about my wonderful dog and their breed.

To answer the above questions...yes, its natural, and yes I DO shave them.

The fact is that Chineses Cresteds (here after refered to as CC's) come in three coat types. First there is what is refered to as a Powder Puff, which has a full coat of hair, does not shed, and needs full standard grooming services. Evonna, seen below is a PowderPuff. You'll remember her from our rescue mission in Rapid City in July. Evonna now lives with her new mom in Billings.
Then you can get what is referred to as a "hairy hairless." These little ones have hair in varying degrees of thickness on nearly their entire body, though I beleive their chest and belly should be mostly bare. When groomed properly, they should look naked, but with very full "furnishings" which is the proper term for the hair on the head, tail, and legs. Tristan, the other rescue, is a hairy hairless. He still lives with Rachelle and is doing wonderfully. Here is Tristan before grooming and after.
The final coat type is the hairless. My girls are hairless. This does not mean that they require no grooming. I do in fact shave them, and it needs done every week, though we often skip weeks because they dislike it and I dislike making them endure it. They are naturally naked on their bodies, with the exception of some random hairs and light fuzz in random places, and the hair on their heads, feet, and tails, which can be in varrying degrees of thickness. Carlie's is thicker than Paris's. Though their is not a lot of "hair care" needed with the hairless variety, there are other grooming needs. For instance, Paris suffers from terribly dry skin, and in fact is sitting next to me now looking all dandruffy and white cause she needs some lotion badly, but she hates it so I put it off. Carlie Jean doesn't suffer from dry skin, but has bad acne. She no longer get actual "zits" (well on occasion) but she has a perpetual issue with blackheads, particularly on her legs and neck. Its a constant, loosing, battle.
As for their shaving needs, like I said it needs done once a week or so. Carlie has a fuzzy face. Here is her face shaved.

And here she is with about three weeks of growth because Malcolm decided its cute and doesn't want me to shave her. I have to admit it is kind of cute. I guess we're going to see how fuzzy she'll get.

She also has a very fuzzy patch on her rump, about the size of half a dime, but I'll spare you that picture.

And the neat part, at least to me, the dogs carry the genes for all three coat types and all three coat types in the same litter. Even if you breed two hairless you could end up with all powderpuff pups, or a mix.

Just one of many reasons I love this breed. In fact, I'm considering getting a sister for the girls. I think I need a black haired little girl to add to my blond and white collection.

October 12, 2008

It Might Finally Be Over

Today was quite a day. I think the snow the last day and a half was not so unusual or excessive for here. I think the big deal is it just took everyone by surprise a little. Like no one was really ready for this yet, so we were all a little stunned. Anyway, thats the way it seems to me.

We drove to Great Falls, MT today and loaded calved which came back to Shepherd. We delivered them this evening, stopped at the house to grab a load of clothes I'd left in the dryer to finish, and now we're fixing to head to Monida, south of Butte, to load more calves which I believe are going to Iowa.

It was an interesting day, and yet routine. The roads were kind of crappy this morning between Roundup and Great Falls, but by the time we loaded and left there, they had thawed and started to melt off pretty good. The roads were clean by the time we got back to Shepherd. Well, clean but not dry.

The house was really pretty standing there in a field of deep white, and if it hadn't been so late I would have taken a picture, but the light was getting too low.
I do have a picture that Rachelle took and sent me this morning of home in Baker. What a winter wonderland.

All said and done, there was about a foot of snow in Shepherd, which settled and melted some so its doesn't look that deep now, though still formidable if you want to go wading in it. (which I wouldn't advise doing in tennis shoes, which is what I'm wearing...I've had wet toes for two days now.) And reportedly, from two different sources so it must be true, there was around 18 inches in Laurel, which is on the west side of Billings.

And all this got me to thinking today, and figuring, and I've decided to share a summary of a season's in Montana for 2008.

Winter - January to May - winter weather, cold, wet, and the last snow storm hit May 1.

Spring - June - 4 weeks of cool weather with rain nearly every day...very unusual.

Summer - 2nd week of July through mid-September (almost 2 months) - hot (100-80degrees), dry (almost no rainfall)

Autumn - 3rd weed of September - cool temps in the 60's and 70's, still dry, but nice weather

"Indian Summer" - 4th week of September, 1st and 2nd week of October - temps return to 80's - 90's, still dry

WINTER - mid-October - plunged into deep winter within hours of leaving "Indian Summer," snow everywhere, temps in 30's and 20's....will it stay like this till May?.....quite possibly!

In short, we enjoyed 4 short months without winter weather this year. Hmmm....

I'd like to quote my sister now. She left a comment on my blog entry from yesterday.

"I love me some snow, but I want to enjoy fall first!!! " and I'm adding.... or at least have more than a few hours notice that winter is here! My coat, boots, and most of my winter clothes are in Baker. I have a choice of flip flops or tennis shoes to wear...neither of which are really great options when there are multiple inches of snow on the ground and rivers of melting snow running through parking lots.

October 11, 2008

...and its still coming down!

Ok, this was just a neat picture I took this morning of some horses watching us load our trailers.
There was just a dusting where we loaded this morning, or actually in town where we met the other trucks. There was nothing where we loaded, but you can see it on the distant hills below.
But as we headed south it was more and more apparent until we were driving in it most of the day. This is south of Glasgow, MT.
IIt got heavier and heavier. This is north of Roundup, which is about 50 miles north of Billings.

And this is Columbus, 40 miles west of Billings, where we are now unloading, and its still coming down heavily.

There's about 3-5 inches on the ground now, and someone said they heard we're supposed to get about 4 more tonight and then more tomorrow. Fun, fun fun...!

October 10, 2008

The White Stuff

October 10th....

Just thought you'd all like to know its snowing. When I crossed into MT last night at 10:30 it started flurrying.
Malcolm just talked to Rachelle in Baker and its snowing there, and he's currently on the phone with our friend Brandon in Shepherd, and there are about 2 inches on the ground.
Here in northern MT, near Plentywood, its cold and heavily overcast, but no snow yet, just very light, barely there, drizzle...the kind that could easily freeze into light snow.
We're going to get a hotel room in Wolf Point since we're not loading till the morning. So maybe when I get up in the morning, I can snap a picture of the white stuff and post it for you.

".....let it snow, let it snow, let it snow."

October 9, 2008

Reading Pleasures

Its quickly approaching that time of year when we have many many days that are just MADE for curling up in your favorite chair with a cup of hot chocolate or hot tea and a great book. I generally have to settle for rolling up the curtains in the sleeper and curling up with my girls, but since some of you can and do enjoy an afternoon of reading at home, I've got a couple of good reads for you.

I know a number of you already read this during the summer. However, maybe a few of you didn't see it on my sister's blog, and I really enjoyed this book, so I decided to go ahead and give it a second push. I just read it last week. I really enjoyed it, and was surprised to get so caught up with the characters. Its not what the title implies...well not really. Basic plot line...Cannie is a plus size journalist who, after breaking up with her three year boyfriend, discovers that he, also a journalist, has written about their sex life in a national publication, stating that loving a larger woman is an act of courage in our times...or something like that. I'd give you a direct quote, but the books at my house on the counter, waiting to be returned my mom-in-law. (one of the few things occupying my house I might add...isn't it lucky!) So the books about her journey of becoming secure and proud of who she is. This book made me laugh out loud and cry real tears a few times, which to me means it's "worth reading," (or possibly that my hormones were out of whack). But regardless of which, I enjoyed it. So if you get tired and want something light to read...try this. Angela, you'd like it, not that Rachel gives you lots of reading time, but at least add it to your stack of "after Rachel starts kindergarten" books, even if that is 6 years distant...thats going to be a huge stack of books if I have anything to do with it.

Speaking of Miss Rachel, she's officially over a month old. I missed announcing her one month birthday. These cows seem to be taking over a lot of my time. But here she is...growing so much!

Back to books.

My second recommendation:

Don't you just love it when you pick a random book off the shelf and it turns out to be GREAT! Here's the deal. I was looking for books at the store on training colts. Randomly pawing my way through the "horse" section of the Barnes and Noble, I ran across this and bought it on a whim.

I just finished it Wednesday night. I've not heard or read any work from this author before, but she has others, one of which I'm about to order because I loved her writing style so much. Even if you are not a horse enthusiast, I still recommend this book. Truly, I can't exactly describe what I felt while reading this...but I just loved it. Every character was real and I found myself feeling personally involved with each of them. Set in eastern Oregon at the beginning of WWI, Martha Lesson is a 19 year old drifter. Shy and extremly self-concious, she makes her way from town to town looking for work breaking horses. Her way of breaking them is unsettling to the locals who are used to seeing horses bucked out till they give up. Martha, socially withdrawn, is a genius with horses, healing their internal hurts and turning them into well mannered and skilled ranch horses. During the winter months, as she works the horses of the community, she is healed herself through her relationships with those around her. You will not only follow Martha's story, but those of the horses she works with as well as the people who employ her. I'm not good with words today and I feel like I'm doing this book an injustice in my discription...but seriously, its a very good book, even if you don't go crazy over horses or western lifestyles. Its not a long book if you are short on time, and its very easy to read. It's a very warming story, and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

I'm going ahead and posting this today, even though I just posted the entry below. If you havn't read it yet, then do so knowing that its long and includes a lot of detail, but I like to think that I share all aspects of trucking...and unfortunatly....the events that occured yesterday are an inevitable part of what we do, that we had avoided up to this point, but apparently it was our turn. (no we didnt wreck...just broke down and feel broke ourselves now)

One of THOSE Days

Its been one of THOSE days...you know...the kind where it seems like everything keeps going wrong.
Well that was yesterday...and it started early.
Here's the deal.
We were on a load of cattle coming out of Nevada and going to Nebraska. Malcolm was driving, and it was like around 11:00pm or so. We were trying to hurry because as soon as we delivered the cows in Nebraska, we had to high tail it over to Wyoming to get another load, and as it was we were going to be there after everyone else anyway.
After crossing into Nebraska, maybe just 10 miles in or so, BAM! Blew a trailer tire. The big discouragment wasn't so much that it was the third trailer tire we've blown in as many weeks, but that we had to limp along at 60 mph to Ogallala to get it fixed, and that took two hours, so we were way behind.
Got the cows dumped off in Farnum, and hit the road for the Wyoming load. We were supposed to be there by noon, and miraculously pulled in at 12:15. The other trucks were gone already, and our cows were standing there in the corrals waiting, but the cowhands had gone to lunch and we couldn't leave without brand papers, etc. So we sat around for about 45 min. and then they showed up and we loaded.
At this point I went to bed to rest until Malcolm got out of the hills. I should have been asleep sooner, but it was so pretty to run down in there. It was back in the Medicine Bow National Forest southwest of Laramie, and it was mountainous, and the Aspen's are golden and it was a bright blue sky day....just beautiful. So I took in scenery on the way in, and slept on the way out.
I woke up about an hour later, thinking it was kind of stuffy in there, so I turned down the air...but it wouldn't get cooler. Then I heard it....an alarm going off up front. With a sense of dread I unzipped the curtain and asked what was going on.
As it turned out, our fan clutch and bearings (sp?) had gone out. For those of you who, like me, are unmechanically minded, what this means it that the fan isn't working, so the engine isn't able to cool itself. This is NOT the optimal situation when your trying to climb mountains! We found a pullout and stopped to look at it. The fan had completly fallen off its...well whatever it sits on. Malcolm put it back on and did some things....and we ended up breaking the belt trying to get it going. So we decided to see how far we could go. A few miles down the road we were overheating again badly, so we pulled off to let it cool. A few more stops like this and Malcolm had decided it wasn't working. Added to the overheating issue was that without the fan, the truck wasn't keeping the batteries charged, and so everytime we stopped and shut the truck off to cool, it a little more sluggish in starting again. If the batteries went dead, we'd be dead, and we were putting to much of a strain on the engine from overheating.
After calling Kenworth in Cheyenne and being told they could fix it if we got there before 9:00pm, he called the wrecker service they recommended, only to be told it would cost...ready for this....$1150.00 to tow us to Cheyenne. That was just the tow bill. Then he called a service truck to see if we could be fixed on the road, but the mechanic was going to charge $700.00 just to drive out there too, without parts and labor added in.
Steve, the guy who gets us the loads, was calling around in Laramie trying to find someone to fix the truck there. If there had been corrals somewhere where we could have dumped off the cows, we could have gotten out easily. It was their weight that was causing us to have such trouble. Anyway, Malcolm decided to try to run with our APU (generator for AC/Heat when we're parked) turned on, because it cycles the water through the engine too to keep itself cool. As it turned out we were able to limp our way out of there, stopping every few miles to shut it off and let it cool. I'm sure by this point the cows were thinking this was the strangest tourbus they'd ever been on, as their guides were stopping every mile or so, but the scenery didn't appear to be changing.
FINALLY....hours later....we crested the last hill and coasted down into Laramie, where there was NO ONE to fix the truck. We still had to go to Cheyenne, 50 miles away, and over the biggest hill yet.
And it just wouldn't do it! We tryed, oh how we tryed, but it was just too much and we were getting WAY too hot for safety. So, the tow truck got some business after all. Let me tell you, that is a strange feeling, to sit in the truck and going down the road (or rather up) and not being the one driving the vehicle. We just had the guy tow us to the top of the hill....three miles exactly, and it cost $345.00.
Ah, but the sweet feeling of having power to drive (because a safety feature of the truck is that when it overheats it cuts the power to the truck), and just moving forward at a decent rate of speed, something you can't do going up hill, kept the temperature down towards normal. We rolled into Cheyenne at 9:15pm, and the shop pulled us right in. I went to sleep and Malcolm went to get something to eat, and two hours later (and another $1727.00) we were on the road and all fixed up.
So....delivered this morning at 4:00am in central Nebraska, and surprisingly Steve still wanted us in Lysite, WY to load this morning, which is 10 miles away. Moral is a little low this morning as we comtimplate the moola that was disposed of last night, but feeling good too, because its fixed and we figure we're the foruntate ones.
A guy we know with the same truck as ours, same year, and a little less miles, is sitting in Rapid City with his engine pulled out of the truck and in pieces, and a bill for more than $9000.00.
We were lucky!

October 4, 2008

A Day of Rest

Its Saturday and we are actually getting most of the day off. Thursday morning we loaded our first load of California bound cows and hit the road. Last year this is what we did the entire month of October, which proved to be kind of mind numbing after a while, but it was quite profitable, so we're glad to see it start up again.

Someone down here buys breeding cows from Montana. We always loaded them either in Fairview at a guys feedyard, or in Miles City or Billings at the salebarn. And they get delivered to a salebarn down here just north of Bakersfield, CA, where the owner eventually picks them up.

The reason its so profitable is because we are almost loaded both ways. Where as on a regular load of cows, we deliver them in NE, CO, or KS, and then we would drive back to Montana empty, with these loads, we deliver them in CA, then Steve usually finds a load of cows here in CA or sometimes OR that are going to NE, CO, or KS, and the take them there. THEN we empty back to MT. So bassically we are loaded 2/3 of the time instead of just 1/2.

The downside is, like I said earlier, we get kind of bored with it, and also its a one truck deal, so we don't get to run with the other guys and visit and that sort of thing.

We were SO exhausted for some reason at the start of this load, so when we got here last night and dropped the cows off we were very happy Steve didn't have anything else for us to do yet. We drove 6 miles south to the truckstop and went to bed. Blissful, non-moving, deep sleep. It was great. Then we got up this morning, showered, ate breakfast, called Steve who said not yet, and went back to bed.

Around 2:00pm Malcolm called Steve again and he had a few loads he's waiting to see about. This usually means the sale isn't over yet, or he's waiting to see if something better comes up. So we're still just relaxing. And Malcolm was so desperate for a truck wash that he actually drove 20 miles further south to get it done!!!! Shocker!!! Cause we NEVER drive out of route for ANYTHING!. Then again the truck hasn't been washed since the beginning of August because there hasn't been time or a place to have it done, and its SO bad that even the other cow haulers are starting to make comments about it and tease us.

Well you can imagine how bad it looks with over 30,000 miles of grime, road dirt, cow poo, you get the picture? Cause I'm not going to post one!

So its been a day of rest, and much needed and appreciated. We might even get some TV watching done if it keeps going.

Now some not so good news. I thought I'd share this because I have many teachers in my life or school related people that I know, so it is a story of interest. I heard about this when we were in Billings for the house closing and I was so upset about it, still am really. There are basically two school communities near us. Obviously Shepherd schools are closest as thats where our house is. The other schools are the Huntley schools. Huntly is the closest community to Shepherd. The two schools are big rivals athletically speaking, but also like "sister schools" as they are so close and two of the smaller school systems within the Yellowstone County schools.

Saddly, a few disgruntled high schoolers broke into Huntley Project High School a couple of weeks ago to steal some candy and stuff. They decided to "have some fun" and it got out of hand. The result it that Huntley High School burned to the ground. Literally all they were able to save was a few instruments from the music room. Everything was a total loss from what I understand.

The students are having classes in portable buildings using materials donated from the community and other schools in the area. This is just so incredibly heart breaking for the entire community. I don't even know anyone there, or even exactly where the school is, but I am so upset about it. I've heard of schools being damaged by fires and that sort of vandalism stuff, but never of one burning to the ground. So if you will, please keep the students, staff, and members of the community in your prayers as they all work to recover from this tragedy.
If your intersted, more pictures and details are available at the following address.
Apparently the communities throughout Yellowstone County are really working together to donate and raise money to supply the school as they continue on with their school year. I just can't imagine going through something like this.

October 1, 2008

Happy Birthday

Today our Paris is 2 years old! Happy Birthday Paris!