November 30, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Weekend

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving! From the ones I talked to, it sounds like they had a nice time.

Fortunatly for us, we managed to get on the road about mid-day Thursday. We were literally the next to the last truck to get loaded before the warehouses closed for the day. Whew! Lucky us! The others were left sitting till Friday to get loaded.
We also managed to get a good Thanksgiving meal, even if it wasn't home cooked. There is a resteraunt there in Yuma, AZ where we've eaten before. It's right next to a truck stop, so we're able to park and walk there. And they were open on Thanksgiving and of course had the traditional Thanskgiving dinner on special. We got it all, including the "I've over eaten" gross feeling afterwards! Actually Malcolm had the Prime Rib. He's not a big turkey person. But I had the turkey and dressing with mashed potatoes, carrots, salad, and a roll, and it came with your choice of pumpkin pie or caramel apple bread pudding. I had the bread pudding and it was really good, but I could only eat about 3 bites of it cause I was so stuffed and it was my turn to drive. Good thing it was still daylight or I would have been asleep as soon as the truck started moving.
So that was our Thanksgiving day. We drove all day, all night and got to Billings around noon on Friday. We dropped the trailer at Steve's and went home. Malcolm's mom and sisters had come to Billings to do some shopping so we did go out and meet them for dinner, and afterwards ran to Lowe's so Malcolm could try and figure out why our smoke detecors are going off everytime we come home. He thinks maybe they are going out. They are the type that are wired into the houses electracal system so we have to flip a breaker to turn them off and that turns off the power to the upstairs bedroom and bath. While he was doing that, I looked at artificial Christmas trees. I think I'm going to try and get one in the after Christmas sale. I'm tired of spending money on real trees, and I'm really tired of putting lights on trees. Those pre-lit trees are a magnificent idea. Wish I could come up with somethign brilliant like that and make my fortune!
Saturday when we woke up, Malcolm had a head cold, and was feeling rotten so he spent the day in the recliner with all three of the girls. They watched the Star Wars marathon on Spike TV. Ella also mastered the going up and going down of stairs all on her own in less than a day. She loves to go up to our room and play....and potty....so we have to watch her. She'll follow Carlie upstairs, and then Carlie will leave her and come back to the basement where we are. Ella won't go down those stairs yet, so she gets left by herself upstairs to do who knows what!
Yours truly went Christmas shopping. I got a little done, and had a good time, and also had a lot of other places I wanted to go, but I decided to hit Walmart and head home early because we were leaving that night. So I got home around 3:00 and fixed dinner. All I have to say is "thank you Walmart" for the rotissery chicken. I've heard they are really good, so I decided I wasnt' going to cook and make a mess and I wasn't going to have yet another boxed pizza. I grabbed a chicken, and boiled some new potatoes when I got home. Add to that the left over biscuits from breakfast and it was a great meal. Delicious. And since we hadn't had a "home" Thanksgiving, I also bought a frozen cherry pie and some vanilla ice cream and we enjoyed that while we watched more Star Wars.
We started to leave around 8:00 last night, but once we got to the truck in the garage with all our stuff and the girls, Malcolm discovered we had a flat tire. So he has to patch it and air it up, and so we didn't actually get out of there till almost 9:00. And so here we are, in Salt Lake City on our way to Los Angelas.
I talked to Grandma on the phone Thursday and she asked if we had moved in yet, which reminded me that I had pictures of my kitchen that I wanted to post. Its one of two rooms that are finished in the house, and its my favorite room right now. Check it out...
And because its a log house, it has these little cubby holes that just happen to house my chicken collection perfectly.
Well I guess they don't show up that well, but you can kind of get the idea.
Back to my rotisserie chicken from Walmart. I have a recipe for you that I cooked last time we were home. It calls for two cups of shredded rotisserie chicken. I didn't have one so I just used some regular chicken, but here's my thoughts....go buy yourself a walmart rotisserie chicken adn have it for dinner. But before you serve it, pull off two cups of chicken. Now you've got two meals out of the same bird. Also this has two jalapeno peppers in it, but it is NOT hot! Seriously, its really good.
One more note before I share the recipe. The recipe calls for bacon, but its used as a garnish, so my non-bacon eating friends can easily leave it out. And it used the bacon drippings for sauteing the veggies, but just use olive oil or butter.
Easy Posole Skillet
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 c snipped fresh cilantro
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 med zucchini, sliced
1 mid green pepper, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 sm onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 c chicken broth
2T all purpose flour - or - masa harina
1 can hominy, drained and rinsed
2 c shredded rotisserie chicken
2 c shredded chihuahua cheese (or mozzerella)
Cook peppers, onion and garlic in 2T bacon drippings over medium heat for 2 minutes.
Add broth and flour and cook 1 minute.
Add hominy, chicken, and zucchini and cook three minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and stir in half the cheese. Top with reserved cheese, tomatoes, bacon and cilantro. Cover and cook two more minutes.
Now, mine got too thick so I ended up using the whole can of chicken broth, which ended up making it more like a stew, but it was really good. And I held back the tomatoes, bacon, cheese and cilantro and just used them as garnishes on top of the served dish. And I served it with cornbread muffins.
This recipe was really good, and it was a perfect meal for two with some left over for lunch the next day. Hope you give it a try and enjoy!

November 26, 2008

Leap of Faith

I'm using this picture to demonstrate something. This is from probably close to a year ago, maybe a little less than that. The girls are not the subject I'm demonstrating here. Its the distance between the seats in our truck.

Paris was timid and took a few months before she'd jump from Malcolm to my across the "great divide." Carlie Jean, bless her simple heart, was almost a year old before she'd do it, and she still has to rock back and forth a few times before she takes the plunge.

Ella on the other hand....NINE WEEKS OLD! Yep, she made an unexpected leap of faith yesterday. Neither of us were expecting it and so its a good thing she made it across and landed on all fours, cause she could have tumbled to the floor. Since that moment, she has leaped the chasm several times. So now we have to keep an eye on her because she doesn't hesitate, and also doesn't always quite make it. Carlie is in AWE of her bravery!

Ella now has a couple of nick-names. Malcolm refers to her as the "black baldy," because she looks like a black baldy calf (though she has some spots coming in on her face that will remedy that.) He also calls her "flea" which is kind of cute. But more often he calls her "the demon," in loving tones of course. And I have to admit she often lives up to that name, though she is extremly loving and sweet too. She has more spunk and confidence than either of the other two..of whom Paris hid under the kitchen table for teh first week, and Carlie Jean to this day waits for permission to jump on the bed before she'll do so.

My name for Ella I created yesterday....Ella Minnow P. Ok, don't laugh but it comes from the abc song. You know....A, B, C, D, E, F, G. H, I, J, K, elliminnowpee. I don't know how old I was when I figured out that those were letters and not a word in the song. Anyway, Ella Minnow has to P frequently, so....you get the idea. Speaking of...she just left a little puddle. Excuse me a moment...

Ok, I'm back.

We're in Yuma, AZ and our last appointment is at 4:00am, not that we'll be loaded by then. So obviously we WON'T be getting home in time to have Thanksgiving. In fact we may very well be having Subway, since thats about the only option there is on I-15. But thats OK, cause it makes it a less guilt ridden, though brief, break next time we're home. We've been on produce since we went back to work after our last break. The cattle shipping has come to a screeching halt for some reason, maybe the holiday. But Steve put us on produce, which is fine. Its a little less action, but we get some rest while we wait at various shippers and it changes things up a little which is always nice.

As you can see in a couple of the picutres, Miss Ella Minnow has her ears up already though I still keep her taped because her ears don't stay up. They'll droop after almost a full day of untaped. She threw off her tape, again, a little eariler so I snapped a few pictures before I retape them! I've learned that its easier if I wait for her to get tired and fall asleep. She doesnt' fight as much. She's getting close to that point as we speak.

She's tired now becuase she had a traumatizing experience earlier when we locked her in the kennel while we went in to eat. She gets EXTREMLY insulted when that happens and frankly who can blame her since she's the only one being put in solitary confinement. I guess thats the big girls one consolation to having a baby sister. Ella has to go in the kennel so they get to stay free roaming in the truck. And they have adjusted to her finally. Even Carlie Jean enjoys rough housing around with her.

Ella's a rather violent girl when it comes to playing....right up Jean's alley. Even Paris gets in on the action sometimes.

We were home Monday for a few hours and I have her a haircut.....holy moly.....I'm not sure who was more tired when we were done, her or me! She sure put up a fight though, and I had waited for her to exhuast herself running around. It was quite a bit different from doing a quick buzz over Carlie and Paris's faces and a spot or two on teh back. Ella was covered in 1/4 inch long fuzz, the results of a weeks worth of hair growing. She's already fuzzy again. I'll have to take a before and after picture for you next time I shave her...which will be soon cause she's alreay got that five o'clock shadow so to speak.

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. The demon starting to stir so I'd better get to work on those ears.

November 22, 2008

Other Stuff From Home

Ok, so here's the other part of what happened when we were home. We got home on a Sunday evening. Monday morning, Malcolm went downstairs, sat down in the recliner, reclined, and saw this.....

Well actually at the point where he saw it, it was a big white bubble. This was taken after he cut it with a knife to let the water drain out of it. You see, it would seem that the kitchen sink was plumbed with copper and the pipes had corroded to the point where they finally cracked....while we were gone. In fact it was so small a crack it took us a couple of hours for us to figure out where the water was coming from. A big clue was when I was standing by the kitchen sink and mentioned that I didn't remember the seam of two of the boards being sharp, at which point Malcolm got this "dread" look on his face, came over and pushed on the boards, and water seeped up between the seams. Lovely! So not only the ceiling in the basement, but water under the wood floors in the kitchen. Fortunatly the insurance covers it. The adjuster came out on Tuesday to look at it and estimated it to be about $7500 worth of damage, unless the sub-floors are also bad. We won't know that until we rip up the floors, but he said just let him know and they'll take care of them too. The joys of home ownership....

On a brighter note, I finished my book while I was home. So here's another recommendation from me.

This was kind of a long read, but I really enjoyed it. It's also recommended by Opra, and most of her recommendations are worth reading. Check it out sometime.

November 21, 2008

Ella's Home

Here's Miss Ella, home at last. She's SO pretty. I'm very happy with her. And though she's quite a bit more hairy than my other girls and will be more of a grooming challenge, she's exactly what I wanted.

Like I mentioned yesterday, Carlie is kind of in denial, but she's doing a little better every day. Today she stood still while Ella got in her face and barked a very high pitched bark at her. Actually it wasn't one bark. Ella pretty much told her off! But Carlie took it pretty well. And Malcolm's adjusting too. He doesn't like all her hairyness, but every once in a while I'll catch a scene like this.....
Somehow, she keeps ending up in his lap. Malcolm and all his girls! How sweet!

I tryed to get good pictures of her, but she was worn out from her very busy morning or eating, running back and forth through the truck, and pestering her sisters. She just couldn't stand up long enough for a picture. She's still cute though.
I can't decide if Paris likes her or not. She plays with her, but then she gets really irritated with her if she's in the way of eating, in my lap, trying to snuggle with Paris during nap time, or generally in her way. I almost wonder if Paris views her as a really neat wind up toy that won't stop playing when Paris is finished. But she does occasionally tolerate Ella's snuggling.

November 20, 2008

Back on the Road

Well, here we are, back on the road again. And after that much time off, unplanned anyway, it feels good. We enjoyed the time off, but you get to a point where you start to feel guilty for not being at work, and earning money.
Came home to a little problem with the house...more on that later. And since that kind of killed our "couple days off to relax," we took a couple more days off to relax. And since we'd been there that long, Malcolm said we'd just stay home long enough for me to pick up Ella, instead of having Rachelle pick her up. And after I picked her up on Monday night, we took a couple more days off, just because....and then this morning we hit the road again.
We've hooked up to a reefer again and are heading to LA with a load of flour.

Ella's adorable. I have a few pictures, but havn't gotten them on the computer yet. I'll get that done ASAP so you can meet her officially. She's really quite the little spit fire when she gets going, which isn't too often since she sleeps a lot. But when she's good and awake, like this morning, she tears around like a maniac. Paris and Carlie weren't too sure about her to begin with. It took a few days, but Paris is pretty cool with her now, even got down out of bed this morning to tear around with her. Carlie on the other hand is in denial. Refuses to look at her, spent the whole first day trying to stay on the other side of the room from her, and generally mopes around and looks like I've broken her heart. Hope she recovers and gives in to the inevitable soon, cause she's making me feel really guilty. I've noticed though that she's worse when Malcolm is around. When he's been out and its just us girls, Carlie has actually gone over and sniffed Ella, even sorta started to play with her, then remembered "oh yeah...I'm supposed to be acting like its the end of the world." My biggest problem is that neither of the big girls think Ella should get to eat. So we're working on that. Otherwise, things are smoothing out and we're enjoying her, or at least I am.
Talk to you later.

November 9, 2008

Good Morning

This is from yesterday morning in Hardin, Mt. I snapped it while Malcolm was washing out our trailer so we could go load more calves for Texas.

How can a day go wrong, when it starts out like this? I believe it can't. I LOVE my Montana sunrises and sunsets.

This is my current wallpaper on my computer screen.

We loaded yesterday morning, drove to Texas and dropped off the babies this morning around 3:00am. They were tired when we picked them up and ragged looking. Malcolm thinks they must have come through part of that storm too. We got them at the sale barn in Billings though, so we don't really know where they came from. Anyway, they all survived, which was a relief after the last load.

Now we just left Cheyenne, WY heading back north. Malcolm decided, being at the end of his rope, frazzled, worn out, and burnt out, that he wanted a couple days off. So we're going home. And a couple days has progressed to a week. So I guess I'll be gone another week. Not that I'm complaining in the least. I'm going to enjoy my house get my hair done, and just be home.

Hope you all had a great weekend, and enjoy this next week. Ella should be home sometime the beginning of next week. I'll introduce her to you officially as soon as I have her!

Till then....

November 7, 2008

Finally Delivered

We finally got to Texas this morning. It was a LONG trip! Windy all the way, and we were both kind of tired from the stress of sitting. You'd think we were rested from sitting there all day, but its kind of stressful, so you don't rest much. You just sit around wondering when you're going to get to go.

Anyway, we unloaded the calves this morning. We did end up having one die during the trip down, but we were surprised and relieved that it was only one. Malcolm found him down in Wyoming, and tryed to get him up, but he couldn't do it. So Malcolm drug him to the side and propped him up so he wouldn't get trampled. The next time we stopped and checked them he had died. Sad to loose one, but relieved it was just one, and I assure you, he won't be the only livesstock lost in that storm.

So now we're heading back north, and hoping the wind has died down. If not, we won't be going far. We'll have to park and wait it out. If its blowing anything like it was last night, we're way too light with an empty trailer to be driving in it.

November 6, 2008

On The Move

After 17 hours in Sundance, WY, we're finally on the move. Not because they opened the road we wanted. But they did finally open I-90 westbound, so we chatted with Steve and decided it was better to go 90 miles out of route than to sit there longer. The calves need to get off the trailer. So we drove south to Gillette, and just headed south on hwy 59 to Douglas, where we'll hop on I-25 south to hwy 26 and shoot over to Torrington, WY where we are loading 18 more calves. Then on to Texas.
Only saw one casualty between Sundance and Gillette, but I think it had just happened because the trailer lights were still on. Some poor Prime, Inc driver did a 180 on the east bound side and turned her over in the median. There will be some discount produce somewhere because he threw it all through the roof of his trailer.
Roads are dry and clear, and the wind is storng but at our backs for now. Maybe we can get somewhere now.


Probably my frequent visitors have wondered where on earth I went, seeing as how I dissappeared without notice for more than a week. In a nut shell....we took time off last minute and finally got moved into our new house. It was a lot of hard work, and we rushed to get it done, but once we had our stuff unloaded at the new place, it was kind of a relief to have it over with. The two biggest challenges to move, the two I always dread, were Malcolm's gun safe with weighs close to 1000lbs. Can we say "NIGHTMARE!" Considering when we unloaded it in Montana the first time we used Malcolm's father's tractor, you can get an idea of what the ordeal is like. And this time it went a LOT more smoothly than I expected. But it still had several "hold your breath and don't watch" moments. I can't remember what the other item of anxiety was, but there was one.
We moved in two stages. First we loaded Malcolm's stuff from the shop into the livestock trailer and on Saturday me, Malcolm, and Rachelle went to our new house and unloaded that. Then we met a friend from Nebraska at the horse sale in Billings. Billings has a big horse sale every month I think, but this was a huge one. It was for three days, and Rachelle and I enjoyed walking around an picking out the horses we were going to buy! (lol...I had a hefty trailer load planned by the time we were done...but you know, there just isn't room for them all so I had to let someone else buy them....too bad.)
Sunday and Monday I packed the house up and we loaded it into our rental truck and hightailed it over to Billings on Wednesday where we unloaded. Then Malcolm's family headed home. By Friday evening we had almost everything put away, at least the important stuff. It was nice to feel settled again. Brandon and his wife Jessica came over to grill steaks and just as were getting ready to eat, the phone rang and it was Steve letting us know he had a load ready for us to pick up at 11:00pm. So, we ate, watched a movie, and then threw our things together and headed out the door. I don't really like leaving rushed like that, but its just the way things go sometimes. We've been barreling down the road ever since, averaging 1000 miles a day.
Well, we were barreling down the road until last night, when Maloclm finally decided that visability was just too low, and since we were the ONLY ones on the road, he felt justified in stopping till morning. And here we still sit, watching the snow blow. They've closed the interstate and the side road we needed to take, and so we're stuck here until further notice in Sundance, WY. Things to do when your stranded in a snow storm in your vehicle....provided its a semi.
a. watch DVD's
b. sleep some more
c. listen to your husband make wierd noises because he's bored out of his mine
d. watch the other truck drivers try to push their way against the wind and snow to get in to the truck stop for coffee
e. get your blog up to date

So here we sit....waiting....and we'll be fine as long as it opens soon. We're just bored. What I'm feeling the worst about is that we are loaded with a bunch of calves. The poor little guys have had to stand back there in the snow and wind, which would have happened anyway, but at least they'd be almost to their new home if we were rolling.

Ok, so thats the news with us. Nothing else is different....oh there goes another truck drive in sneakers tromping through the snow. We heard one guy talking about it as he passed us and proclaiming that "they don't have this kind of stuff in North Carolina." And last night in Dickinson, where it had just started, a guy from Texas had come north through South Dakota. We were apprehensive after seeing his vehicle plastered with snow and hearing him talking about slipping and sliding all the way up here, because we had to go south that way. And you should have heard the Texan...."I only come up here once in a while and I can't wait to get the **** back where I belong. How do you people live with this!"
Its rather humerous, cause this is like, ok inconvenient, but normal stuff. Its not near as impressive to me this year as it was last. Its still exciting, but like not anything out of the ordinary, and I don't feel as intimidated by it....of course, thats provided that Malcolm is the one behind the wheel. I don't drive if its worse than light snow fall. This is a little different from "light snowfall." Its not really heavy snow, but the wind is blowing and the roads are slick because it rained a TON before it started snowing. Not the best situation. And what makes it the most difficult, and the reason the roads are closed, is because the wind. Everything is fine, and then a huge gust comes along and all of a sudden you can't see anything. Everything but shadows of the other truck dissappears. So here we sit.
Stay warm and dry.
Till next time...