November 30, 2009

Is That Natural? (round 2)

After checking out my Sunday Stills photos yesterday I got more than one comment regarding the Chinese Crested puppies and their hairless state.

Prepare yourselves cause you just got me started on one of my favorite topics and I can go on and on about it! In fact I sent someone a long email just last week about it and probably told them a lot more than they really cared about, but I enjoyed rambling on about it, so my apologies to her....but not really.
(Carlie Jean as a baby.)

My dogs are weird, I know. Actually I prefer the terms unique and exotic. I get strange looks all the time, Malcolm too...especially when he takes them out to potty and I don't go and so there go my four dear ones...my macho truck driving husband and three hairless froo froo dogs in pink pajamas, lol...bless his heart. He's such a trooper!
(Ella as 2 months: She was just starting to have her face and neck spots show up.)

And I get asked all the time "What is THAT?" or if they are naturally like that? Do I shave them? etc.

To read my explanation about whether or not its natural go here.

( Paris as a baby...as you can see she had a lot more pink then than she does now.)

When I wrote that I didn't have Ella. Carlie and Paris are both considered hairless, while Ella is a hairy hairless. I would love a powder puff, but three's enough for now...and for a long while.

If after seeing my dogs all the time on this blog and reading my explanation above, you are just enamored with them, then check out this site. This is frequently referred to as "the database" or at least that's what I've heard it called. I gave you a link directly to the photo gallery where you will find about a half million pictures of Chinese Cresteds from all over the world. My girls are in there too....but you probably won't see them as there are so many. Its a great way to familiarize yourself with all the different looks a Chinese Crested can have!

(Carlie Jean at 2 years of age.)

The comments on the Sunday Stills post were regarding the puppies and that it looked like they had hair. Now that you read the link to my earlier post, you know there are fully coated Chinese Crested puppies as well as hairless ones. Most people only know about the hairless ones because that is what the breed is known for. But those puffy babies are just as pretty and come without the teeth and skin issues, though obviously you've got bigger grooming jobs to do.

(Ella on her first morning in her new home....fuzzy head...notice the lack of spots. They tend to change in appearance a lot over the first year and a half. Paris developed lots of spots that eventually all grew together so that she just has minimal pink on her legs and face. And as you know, Ella is very polka dotted on her face and neck.)

Of Rachelle's puppies, 5 are hairless and one is a powder puff. That's simple...but now it can get complicated.

There really are only the two, but within the Crested community we break it down further as you'll have noticed on her description of each pup. Within the hairlessness, we can call them "true hairless" which has practically NO hair, "hairless" which would be like Paris and Carlie Jean, "hairy hairless" which is what Ella is, and "very hairy hairless" which have a lot of hair on their back and sides, and at a quick glance, un-groomed, could be mistaken for a power puff. But if you look closely you notice the naked belly and sides.

(Little sisters are SO annoying!)

When they are puppies, the naked babies look hairier than you'd think, but as they grow the hair spreads out thinner. They don't really lose it, but it is just redistributed, I guess is the best way to explain.

And as I explained in the earlier post, all the dogs carry genes for hairless and powder puff. I won't get into a big long genetics lesson on you, but...in brief....a gene has two halves, one from each parent. When an embryo is formed that has two hairless genes, or is homozygous for hairless, it won't survive to full development. Having homozygous genes for hairlessness is fatal, so all the dogs carry the powder puff genes. That's why it doesn't matter if you breed two hairless or two powder puff, or one of each...you get all sorts of coats, or lack of coats, in the litter, as seen in Rachelle's brood. Those babies came out of an almost true hairless and a very hairy hairless. And yet she's got every variety of coat in the litter.

OK...did I completely bore you? I'm afraid I may have, and if so I'm sorry. I just find it fascinating, and I LOVE being handed the opportunity to share my dogs and teach about the breed, because it is really still such a novelty. They are great little dogs, and I highly recommend them. I've never had a dog that was so much a part of our family, our life, and seriously when I'm not with them, even for half a day, I go into withdrawal. They firmly implant themselves into your lives, fully believe that they ARE your children, and you won't be able to convince them otherwise. And I'm not the first one or only one to say these things! Just ask Rachelle!

November 29, 2009

Sunday Stills: The Letter "T"

This weeks Sunday Stills challenge was the letter "T." I was actually home for several days this past week, and so I was able to take pictures from home instead of on the road. Sometimes being on the road presents me with unusual opportunities for photographs, and sometimes it really limits me. I imagine I could have found plenty to photograph for the letter "T" if I had been out, but it was so relaxing to just walk around my house looking for ideas.
Check out the link above for more Sunday Stillers. Its a lot of fun to browse all their blogs and see what everyone produced.


A sweet gift from my sister that comes in real handy. I usually end up carrying it downstairs with me so I know when the oven needs checked.


These are three of Malcolm's antique clocks. He inherited his grandfather's love of clocks.


Check back later this week for instructions and the recipe for my Christmas Toffee.

Tea Kettle

I had a "kitchen Christmas" a couple years ago and was gifted, unexpectedly, with all red Kitchen Aid products including this kettle, and my beloved, and much coveted, stand mixer.

Tea Set


Tea Cups

all part of my treasured tea set that was a wedding gift from Mom.

Tiny Chinese Crested Puppies

This weekend we went to my in-laws for a long over-due visit. Trucking makes it hard to visit loved ones as much as we'd like. Anyway, while there, I got to finally meet the new Chinese Crested babies. More pictures can be seen in the Darling Poodles nursery. Aren't they precious?

Tire and Trailer

OK all your truckers (Ed)! Here is one more reason NOT to be an owner operator! Awww...the joys of business ownership. Malcolm spent the entire three days we were home, including Thanksgiving Day replacing the brakes on the trailer.

He was a very Tired Truck Driver working on his Trailer on Thanksgiving.

Tessie, my mother-in-law's adorable Schnorkie.

And last, what a way to end the day, with a glorious

Thanksgiving Sunset!

Montana never lets me down in this department!

November 27, 2009

Holiday Fun

I love the holidays!

After delivering Monday morning near Spokane, we drove south to Clarkston, stopping on the way to pick up Malcolm's baby sister. She goes to boarding school over in that area. Bless her heart, she bravely road with us all night long to get home! Trucking really isn't her cup of tea, but I sure enjoyed getting to visit with her.

We got home early, early Tuesday morning and after breakfast with Malcolm's parents and sisters, us girls went out for a day on the town. I got my hair done, Justine got her nails done, and we all had such a good time. Sorry you missed it Rachelle....then again you missed it cause you were getting a free horse, so I don't feel that bad for you.

Wednesday and Thursday I crafted, cooked, and cleaned. Malcolm, poor thing, spent the whole time changing the brakes on the trailer. He's exhausted and hurting, but the job is done and doing it himself saved a lot of money. AND....thankfully he shouldn't have to do that job again for another year. He was a site though, covered in grease and oil and dirt. I'll have picture to post later.

We are on our way to Baker, to the ranch, and I am pumped. I have not been to the ranch since the beginning of April, and that was not even for a full day. I have not been there for strictly recreational purposes since last CHRISTMAS! And visiting with the girls in town is fun, but its just not the same as chillaxin (thanks Meagan for that word) at the ranch with them. We're going to feast, tour Rachelle's new house, get to see the new Crestie puppies in person (can't wait to see those naked babies), and maybe even ride the new Arabian.....what do you think Rachelle...maybe?

Anyway, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We're getting a late start on the celebration, but it will be great none the less. Check back with me on Sunday for a Sunday Stills post. I had fun collecting photos for it while I was home.

God has blessed me with so much all my life, and this year His blessing have just continued to multiply. I have much to be thankful for.

November 21, 2009

Sunday Stills: Horses

This weeks Sunday Stills challenge was, according to Ed, "the hardest challenge yet." I think he was being facetious because, as I've come to discover, a huge proportion of Sunday Stillers are horse people and the topic he chose was "horses!" Must explain one reason I enjoy particpating so much!

This was, yet again, a topic I thought would be so fun, and yet here I am on the road. I have lots of horse pictures in my files, and we see many horses all across the country, but not that frequently in situations where I can whip out the camera and snap a few.

And then...miracle....as we were cruising through Brawley, CA on our miserable day, looking for something to grab to eat before going back to wait our turn to load, I noticed that there were horses all over town! Apparently the rodeo had been the previous weekend, and they were still cleaning up. And so as we cruised through I tryed to get the best pictures I could while rolling, because there wasn't time to get out and stroll through town.

No one said it had to be live horses that got photographed!

Half a Horse

This was a western wear store. Does anyone else think the shadow of his front half kind of looks like a horses rear end and tail? So maybe he's a whole horse after all!

The smallest horse in town.

They had a very creative and tallented window artist at work. There were only four windows that handn't been cleaned. In my picture of one the camera auto focused on the cow instead of the horse, and I missed one of them. The risks of photography in motion. But the two I got were very well done.

Malcolm liked the one below. Recognize the truck in the reflection? That's one horse power with 550 horse power running behind it.

November 20, 2009

Pass the Salt, Please?

Near Salt Lake City, UT - 10:00 am

Greeting from SLC! We're rolling north towards northern Idaho, and along the way we'll be passing through western Montana. But I should tell you about getting here before I tell you where we are going.

We had, shall we say, a rather unpleasant time in California this trip. It really had nothing to do with the roads, the traffic...though we did pass through the LA area right at "goin' home time" which is always a joy...or with the people of California. After we delivered our load of pearlite in Escondido, we drove the 160 miles or so to Brawley, CA. We drove through most of the night, pausing for a few hours to nap, and arrived at National Beef around 6:30am.

Now let me digress a moment to say that we frequently load at kill plants. In fact meat and bone meal, along with poultry meal, make up a good percentage of our loads. And we load at kill plants in multiple states. This was our first trip this year to National Beef in Brawley, but last summer we loaded there numerous times. There is nothing like a kill plant and 120 degree heat...aww the aromas (more like gagging stench!). The other kill plants generally get us loaded and out within an hour or two. We never spent less than three hours at Brawley and often more. We soon learned that nothing has changed except that the temperature was lower and it didn't stink quite so bad.
I just felt you needed that tidbit of info. so you'd be set up for the continuation. So we arrived at National Beef at 6:30am. Malcolm went to check in. Malcolm came back. The truck that was currently loading had started loading at 2:00am and wasn't half way done. The truck waiting to load in front of us had been waiting to load since 10:00 the previous evening. It was going to be a LONG day!
We were all eventually overcome with the monotony of it.
Skipping all the dull details of the day, I'll skip to the end of Wednesday and tell you that we finally finished loading at about 6:30 that evening. We had made a quick run into town that morning for a quick breakfast and then for dinner we had a granola bar and some stale cheezits. Upon finishing the loading, Malcolm went in for paperwork. Alas, the paperwork guy had just left for his 1 hour lunch break. Two hours later Malcolm went in and pitched a fit and they found someone to print out some bills of lading for us. How nice of them to trouble themselves.
Needless to say it was an all-nighter to get to Traver, 450 miles north. I finished the second half of it, navigating through fog so dense I could see the end of the hood and not much more. Once Foster Farms opened for delivery, we got the meal dumped off and done by 9:00am Thursday morning.
Now at this point, we were tired and hungry, having not slept much on bumpy roads and not eaten a meal since the morning before. On top of that, we hadn't showered in almost three days because when we had time, there were no showers, and when we were near showers there was not time. Needless to say, our spirits were dampened, our mood was becoming foul, and our "vacation" for Thanksgiving was looking better and better.
And then we talked to our broker. Loads were in short supply, everything slowed down for some reason, he could only come up with one way to get us home for the holiday, but we'd not get home till Tuesday and we'd have to leave Sunday morning to get to Illinois. Not what I wanted to hear. And then the real clincher....we had to drive 800 miles EMPTY to load west of Salt Lake City, because there just wasn't anything else that would work. We haven't driven that far to load in over three years.
Once the shock and disappointment wore off, things started looking OK, or at least we just accepted that it was the way it was and there wasn't anything we could do about it. So we drove to Ripon, CA, showered, ate at a Mexican restaurant we like, and then treated ourselves to Starbucks before we headed out of California.
Anyway, its over. We're loaded and heading out and we'll be home Tuesday and I've been plotting since 2:30 this morning ,when I got up to drive, how I'm going to manage my time and get everything done that I wanted to get done while I'm home.
We loaded salt this morning, thus my title. Bet you were wondering what salt had to do with anything I've talked about so far. Well it didn't, but it will from here on out. Took long enough to get there didn't it?
Its about 111 miles across the salt flats of Utah on I-80, and about a third of that is within sight of the Great Salt Lake., or at least a lot of shallow water along the road as well as the salt pits which are...we'll get to that in a minute.
Often its breezy out there, and the shallow water along the roadsides is choppy, but this morning it was calm and the water was like glass.
To harvest the salt they dig out these huge, shallow beds that are almost like really big rice patties, fill them with water, and then let the water evaporate out of them, leaving the salt behind.
Not too good of a shot, and my zoom wasn't strong enough, but I still wanted to include it so you could see them working. I don't know if they were harvesting salt, or making another bed to fill with water. Those are bulldozer type thingies out there.

Off the interstate and 8 miles down a gravel road, we arrived at our destination, multiple piles of salt waiting to be used.
Just to give you an idea of how big a pile of salt that is...
...and here they are waiting to load us as we weighed in.
And then... after driving 800 miles to get there....they told us we were in the wrong place. We were supposed to be here instead.
And so we headed back out the way we came, 8 miles across the salt pits...
...making a total of about 16 unnecessary miles added to the already ridiculous 800 empty miles.
And then we arrived at our destination.

Now we're loaded and rolling north. Not too happy that we have only 750 miles to go between now and Monday morning when we can deliver. VERY happy that, since we only have 750 miles to go between now and Monday morning when we can deliver, we're stopping in Idaho Falls this evening and tomorrow I intend to spend the ENTIRE day at the mall, Barnes and Noble, and whatever else I can find to do there. Very, very happy about that! There is also a large army surplus store that Malcolm has wanted to go to for the past three years, so I think we'll do that too! And since I get to do all that tomorrow, that's one less thing to try and squeeze into our shortened Thanksgiving holiday.
(In case your wondering why 5 days off was a depressing thought and we were feeling that wasn't enough time when all our breaks are usually about a week long...consider that we've been at the house for one day in the last SIX weeks when normally we stay out only 4 weeks or so! Five days sounds very short!)

November 17, 2009


Congratulations to my dear sis-in-law, Rachelle. Her Chinese Crested, Kloey, just gave birth to six, yes I said SIX, puppies, all BOYS!

Jiminy Cricket out did himself for his first litter of offspring! We're going to have to have a talk with him about the joy of little girls.

Rachelle has a picture of the new babies on her nursery page. Go visit and see how adorable they are. I know I've already picked out which six I want!

November 16, 2009

Over the Mountain and Through the Woods

Greetings from Oregon. We've been here all day! Where have you been?

This morning we woke bright and early, well Malcolm did, to wait to be unloaded. When the four sleeping beauties arose, the biggest one, myself, decided that it was high time Miss Ella got a haircut.It had been only two weeks since I shaved her pretty little face, but her body had a months worth of fuzz on it.Much better!

We unloaded this morning in Scio, OR at Top Hat Mushroom.
Scio is about 30 miles from Salem, on the western side of Oregon. It was 60 degrees, overcast, and a balmy breeze blowing. It felt, looked, and smelled like spring time!
After catching up on some things that needed doing, they finally got us unloaded. They mix the milo seed with wood chips from nearby lumber mills, and press it into molds to make trays for growing mushrooms. The actual mushrooms are grown somewhere further south.
Though we had come in after dark, I just had a feeling that it was an incredibly beautiful drive. And so when we left, going back the same way we came in, I made sure I had my camera ready. We hadn't even gone 1/2 mile before I asked Malcolm to stop so I could take a picture. We parked on the bridge of this slightly used road, and took in the scene.

We traveled a two lane that crosses the Cascade Mountains between Bend, OR and I-5 near Salem. It was a very pretty drive, though the road was much busier than I expected it to be.

I have to say that Oregon has some beautiful forests! I love the huge pines, the moss and ferns, and the deep earthy smell of it all. As we climbed in altitude the snow from this weekends storms began to make itself more noticeable along the shoulders.
A littler higher and it was hanging onto tree branches, trying valiantly to stay despite the warmer temperatures. At this point it was about 36 degrees.

Between pictures I was looking over the map trying to determine what the various peaks we were seeing were. The first one we noticed kept peaking at us between trees and over other peaks that were between us and it. I believe that this was Three Fingered Jack, elevation 7,841 feet.
And I believe these two lovelies are two of The Three Sisters. The third was further over and my picture didn't turn out good. Notice the snow whipping of the peak in the wind. It was gusty below, so it must have been really whipping up there!

Santiam Summit pass is at 4800 feet. Just a guess, but I think they get a little snow up there. I'm basing this on the size of the reflector poles. Malcolm was in awe! Never have we seen poles this tall. The picture looks like a bit of an illusion, but the truth is that that bottom green line was level with the top of the SUV when it passed next to it. Amazing!

This is a picture of the lake, or what was a lake, behind Detroit Dam. I was reading about it, and learned that at its time of completion in 1953 it was the 8th tallest dam in the world. I'm not sure what's going on because the website is still proclaiming the lake to be the fishing, boating, and recreational center for the area, but I can't imagine that there is much of any of that going on. It was nearly completely dry, except for what looked like a river running through the deepest trenches of the lake. It was a huge area, and looks devastated! Can you even imagine how many trees were cut down in order to create this lake? The entire bottom that was exposed was covered in huge, ancient tree trunks.
I started this blog Monday evening, but didn't finish as I needed to get some sleep in order to drive. Its now 10:30 on Tuesday morning and we are just south of Stockton, CA. Should deliver south of Los Angelas this evening, or tomorrow morning. So over joyed to be going back to that area of California! If you've been reading this blog for a time, you know I'm being completely sarcastic in saying that. I've come to appreciate and enjoy being in California, but once we're south of Bakersfield, I do not care for it at all.
Despite my lack of affection for southern California, I'm still in happy spirits. I'm holding out hope that I'll be home by this time next week. And even though I'll be in the desert, I know that our broker already has a load lined up that will bring us back to central California tomorrow.
Hope you all have a great day! The spirit of the holidays is infecting me quickly, and I hope your all catching it too!