October 26, 2011

Headed Home

We didn't get loaded up till Monday morning but that was ok. The scenery more than made up for the delay, as we usually make a lot of that trip after dark. The colors were outstanding coming across Lookout Pass on the ID/MT border. So incredibly vivid! The gold was so bright it almost hurt your eyes.

And then Montana was not about to let Idaho's leaves get the better of it. So, though the leaves were a bit duller over in Montana, the sunset over Butte was superb.

In about 4 hours we will have been out on the road for 9 weeks and 2 day.

Granted, we had a little 3 day layover at home the first weekend of October, but I never really count those layovers as "home time."

And sure there have been a few breaks. We lounged around a weekend in Sacramento waiting for sunflower seeds, and again this past weekend in Moses Lake, WA waiting on the same product. But if your not lounging at home, its not really lounging.

Nine weeks and a day. The longest we've ever stayed out since we started hauling around this hopper trailer 3 years ago. And it turned out to be the busyest round on the road we've had in a long time! In fact they are so busy, the broker was somewhat reluctant to lose us for 2 weeks.

By the time we get home, we will have driven 45,935 in nine weeks! That's an average of about 5,100 miles a week, about 1,000 miles/week over what we aim to average!

Home time does not mean we step out of the truck and forget it exists for 2 weeks. We're shipping calves on the 31st and that involved us haulin' a load or two to the scale in town, in addition to haulin' the cows home from summer pasture. So we'll be doing a little bit of driving. And when we're not behind the wheel, there are other things to attend to. The wheel seals are starting to leak on the trailer really badly, and we need some tire work. There is some welding needed on the trailer frame as well, and some other jobs that need done that Malcolm will see to. For me, there is truck related laundry that needs attention. Lots of bedding to wash, and I'll probably lug my vacuum out to the truck, b/c me little car vacuum just doesn't dig out the deep dirt. And there is, as always, lots of paperwork.

We'll be having a meeting with our accountant while we're home and I've been crunching some numbers to take with us. It's always fascinating...and a little bit startling...when I do that. We were both surprised to learn that we've already spent over $100,000 on fuel this year. Over last years total and we still have two months to go. I haven't felt like the price/gallon was that much higher than last year, so perhaps we've just used that much more. I have yet to add up our total miles for the year thus far. That should tell me. Might be interesting, especially considering we took nearly 2 months off this summer!

I am going back and forth about blogging while home. I enjoy sharing our home time activities almost more than our road time activities, sometimes. But yesterday I started feeling exceptionally reclusive and private. Perhaps I need a few days to be a hermit. So I can't promise blog posts from home, maybe one or two, but not a lot. Time will tell. I might get home and have a sudden burst of blog inspiration.

We are in Billings, MT right now, unloading in the dark. The sun is not yet up. It is cold, about 31 degrees. Time to get the girls fleece PJ's back out. And there were a few flurries in our forecast here and there over the next few days.

Cold or not, I'll be out in it. I have outside things to do. I'll brave the chill because I know after this break, it will not be pleasant to be outside for a few months. So I have to get in my horse time, my Montana prairie time, and get all the outside soaked up that I can.

We'll finish up here in Billings, make a quick stop in Miles City to look at a hay trailer and get some groceries, and then around mid-afternoon, we'll be pulling into this drive way.

 I can't wait!

October 23, 2011

Takin' It Easy

On Thursday, we loaded in one of my favorite parts of Idaho. From I-15, you take US30 into the mountains of southeastern Idaho, past Lava Hot Springs,

and on into Soda Springs, where you turn north on a state highway that goes out to Conda, ID.  As you leave Soda Springs, there is a sign that warns of "no gas for 70 miles." My kind of place!

The colors on the mountains are amazing this time of year! And the vistas are always beautiful!
Conda, ID...I've seen no town by that name, though our GPS can find and lead us to "Conda." Maybe there is a town tucked away somewhere. I have no idea. But what IS there that we go to frequently, is a huge fertilizer plant.

We loaded fertilizer and hauled it to Othella, WA, delivering Friday morning. The plan was to load sunflower seed at Moses Lake and head to Minnesota. But we were told up front that the seed wasn't quite dry enough and we might have to wait.

By Friday evening it still wasn't dry enough, and so Malcolm decided since there was a chance we'd be here for a couple days, we'd splurge on a hotel room at the hotel across the road from the truck stop. So we loaded up our stuff, and the girls stuff, and the girls, and got ourselves settled in.

The lady here who has the seeds has been staying in touch with us. The seeds are close to being ready and we're hoping today is the day. We'd like to be sitting in Minnesota in the morning. We should know if we can load in a couple hours.

In the mean time, we've been enjoying the luxury of showers every day, sometimes two just for fun! And watching TV in our pajamas all day, catching up on rest.

The girls haven't had any complaints. They had lots of new spaces to explore, lots of fun running around and over the top of the bed, and to their great delight, the room has a king size bed, which means all 5 of us fit!
It has been nice for a change, relaxing, and good to be out of the truck for a spell. But its still not home, and we're getting restless, tired of watching TV, and being stationary for so long.

Hope we get on the road today!

October 21, 2011

Lessons in Letting Go

I remember Mom telling me years ago that she was the kind of person that mapped out every second of the day, and how deviations from her plan would frustrate her a great deal.
And I remember her telling me sometime later down the road, that maturity and life had helped her get past that so that when plans changed, her world was not turned quite so upside down. She has gotten so much better at rolling with the punches. Her latest blog post is evidence, as they hit some glitches on their trip, and she was able to get past it and write a very cute and humorous description of their adventures and how much they ended up enjoying it.

I share this with you, because I have learned that, though my need to schedule and know what's going on isn't as intense as her's was, I do have a tendency to make plans and then fall apart when something messes them up. Living with Malcolm and living at the ranch is teaching me to get over it.

And I share that with you so to lead up to my story today, about lessons in letting go.

Malcolm told our broker on Tuesday that we needed to go home next week, and would prefer to get there on the early side of the week. As usual, once this official announcement is made, my mind goes into fast gear, arranging and rearranging what all I want to do while home and the order in which I want to do it. And as I plan the anticipation builds and builds.

On Tuesday afternoon, the broker told us after we delivered in California, we'd take a load of fertilizer to Idaho, and it only made sense to us that he'd be working us home from there. And our minds settled on that and snuggled into that knowledge. So on Wednesday morning when the broker called and said that from Idaho we'd take a load of fertilizer to Texas for Friday, and then run a short load over the weekend, and then reload Monday morning and deliver in California Tuesday, my mind kind of short circuited because to me "home earlier in the week" meant I was home by Tuesday afternoon. Home any time after Tuesday is "later in the week" to me.

I tried to suck it up and act like a big girl, and mostly succeeded for a while. I only let two tear drops escape. And then I became angry. Really really angry. And as usual, as unfair as it is, I kind of took it out on Malcolm. I was angry that we were going so far from the right direction for so many days. I was angry that after almost nine weeks on the road, our broker hadn't recognized my NEED to go home. I was angry that I was sitting there watching all my plans and my precious schedule fall apart like a domino chain. And I was angry at Malcolm for not telling them that this wouldn't work. I was angry!

Fortunately for Malcolm it was his turn to go to bed, and so he was able to slip behind the security of the cab curtain. Bless his heart, here he was worn out, wanting to go home as much as me, and add to that, sick since loading pea flour Monday night (he breathed in too much of the stuff and has been plugged up, raw throated, and feeling miserable ever since), and now his wife isn't talking much and starring at the road ahead. I'm glad for his sake that he got to go to sleep.

I made it out of Sacramento without killing anyone. But my anger was growing and turning to rage. I was raging inside. Raging against trucking, how it was cheating me out of experiences and time. And I raged against Malcolm because he wouldn't say "no." I raged against him even though I knew I didn't have a good enough reason to. I got angrier and angrier, and those poor California drivers...it was a selfish day on the road in California. Everyone was being pretty inconsiderate and it did not help my mood any. I'm sure some of them had singed bumpers from the looks I gave them as they passed, not to mention I had a terrible time staying close to the speed limit. The angrier I became and harder it was to care about the speed limit.

Eventually a little voice started nagging me in the back of my mind. It would whisper and ask what was I doing? And I'd block it out and rage some more. A minute later it would come back and whisper, "you know what to do." But I'd push it aside and rage some more. Why is it that we hold on to anger so much? I don't know how it is for men, but why do we women almost relish staying in our anger? I was coming to realize this was silly, but I didn't want to let the anger go yet! I wanted to be angry! How much sense did that make?

The urging voice whispered again, "You know He has a plan. You know there is a reason for this change in your plans. You know it will all work out and you'll still get home and everything will be just fine! Why are you doing this?"

I literally rolled my eyes at this, and calmed for a moment, but then started thinking again about the big weekend I had planned. A special weekend for me and Malcolm that I'd been looking forward to for 8 weeks! And so much of what I wanted to do in the week after that, hinged on accomplishing some things that weekend. Postponing my plans till the following week would ruin everything! I returned to my hot anger.

But maybe the voice of reason was getting through a little. I don't now, but finally between angry thoughts and threats and venting, I paused for a one line sobbed plea, "God, please fix this!" I was so mired down in my anger that I couldn't manage more than that.

And I went back to my anger again, though a little less heated, but still strong and feeding itself. Have you recognized how very frustrated I was? I was, as usual, over reacting, I know. And I knew that all this was going to work itself out, but I also knew MY plans were all messed up now, and it was just more than I could handle at the moment, obviously. But a minute or two later I was able to take a deep breath and put forth a second request. "God, Please help me."

I was still angry. It just kept coming in waves. But maybe 45 minutes later as I was nearing the California/Nevada line I realized I was daydreaming about my horses, and that I wasn't angry, and that I had even thought to take a picture for the blog as I crossed the Sierra Nevadas.
And I thought to myself, "It will be OK. I'll just deal with whatever happens, and we'll figure it out as we  go.There IS a reason for this, and regardless of when, we will still be going home and I'll enjoy it as much as I always do."

At the state line, the curtain unzipped and Malcolm was awake and coming up front. He was about 45 miles early, and I tried to tell him to at least go lay down and rest till we got to the fuel stop. I wanted him to rest because he's been feeling so rotten all week, but even more, I was afraid the fire of my anger was only smoldering and I didn't want to burst into flames again and burn him.

He came up anyway and sat in the passenger seat and we were silent a few minutes. And then he told me he hadn't really processed the time frame for the loads the broker was giving us, and that it was cutting it too close for our weekend plan.

I told him I figured we'd just do it the following weekend.

"Why not go during the next week?" he asked me.

"Because, we have to help ship calves on Monday, and the accountant isn't in her office on Tuesday, and we have dentist appointments on Wednesday, and at some point you have to haul your Dad's cow's home from summer pasture. So we might as well wait till the weekend and that will just have to work."

He sat for a minute, then said "Going to Texas and California messes up everything. I'll talk to the broker in the morning and tell him it would be better if we could go home from Idaho if possible."

It had never occurred to me that he hadn't figured out how close it was cutting our time. I had been blinded by my anger and decided that he just wasn't willing to tell them no.
Another pause, I swallowed my pride. "I'm sorry I took out my frustration on you. That wasn't fair or nice."

It wasn't even 5 minutes before the phone rang.

It was our broker, calling us from his cell phone at home, because office hours were over and he was off duty for the evening. But he had taken off from his personal time to call and tell us the farmer in Texas had just called to cancel the load. So we wouldn't be going to Texas, and thus our California trip wasn't going to work. He was working on figuring out what to do with us from Idaho.

Malcolm told him it was OK, because we really needed to be home sooner anyway. "Oh," the broker said. "I didn't realize. Well there's nothing going to Montana, but we can try to get you to Washington with something and maybe get a load of sunflower seed to Minnesota and then find something there back to Baker or Miles City. I can probably get you home Wednesday at the latest."

After fueling, and eating, and getting the truck greased, Malcolm went back to bed. He was starting to feel rotten again.

And so I drove east, further into Nevada towards Idaho, and God and I had a little conversation which started with a thank you, and a big "I'm sorry."
I'm sorry, Lord, for letting my emotions rule my thinking and not leaning on You. I'm sorry for ignoring what I know. Because I know that You have a plan so much greater than my own, that You have reasons for everything you allow to happen.
And most of all, I'm sorry because I know the right thing to do in any situation is to let go and let You do your job!"

I didn't know what His purpose was in allowing that little episode in my life, but I knew, as that little nagging voice kept trying to tell me, that He had it under control and He had a plan. Even though I was trying to ignore what I knew, I still knew it.

I believe now that I know what His purpose was. He was giving me yet another lesson in letting go. Another reminder, as I need one often, to let go of my plans, let go of my need to know what's going to happen, and rely on Him to direct me on HIS path, down His chosen road, to be apart of His plans. And He was reminding me that sometimes He's just waiting for us to ask for Him to help because He wants to be a part of our lives, even the mundane ordinary parts.

Even the little things can pack a powerful punch. And don't ever think that God only concerns Himself with the big stuff in life. He answers the smallest of requests. Even the "God please fix this" about a silly schedule mix up. And sometimes the answer is "no" but take notice. I asked 2 things. I asked for him to "fix this" and I asked for him to "help me."

He "helped me" first, helped me calm down and accept what was going to happen.

So that even if his answer to the "fix this" had been "no," I would have been at peace with that.

I was and still am overwhelmed with gratitude for His lesson in letting go.

Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

October 18, 2011

More of the Same

My sister and her family just returned home from a magical trip to the Magic Kingdom,

and Mom and Dad are driving around the Oregon coast as we speak on an incredible dream vacation.

What are we doing? We are on yet another trip from North Dakota to California. All 5 of us are getting really bored with the scenery on this route. The dogs don't even come up to the cab much any more. Even the stuffed ones are sick and tired of this trucking thing.
Which is why I haven't blogged for a while, a little over a week actually. Seeing the same thing over and over does not inspire much. I just haven't been in the mood, haven't had much of interest to share, and quite frankly, I've been too tired to care much about anything. Tired from driving and weary of the road. Which sounds pathetic, and I'm not shopping for sympathy. Just telling you where I've been.

But for whatever reason, the blogging mood struck this morning around 3:00 and I composed three blog posts in my mind as I drove, and then had to choose. I decided to just go update you on what we've been up to and then share other stuff later.
Mt Shasta as viewed from Weed, CA
Last week I think I told you, after our long weekend waiting in Sacramento, we took a load of pears to Portland? Did I tell you or was that on facebook? Well, anyway, that's what we did, and from Portland we bounced empty over to Moses Lake, WA to load more sunflower seeds. Yes, sunflower seeds. I think its the only thing anyone grows anymore!

Along the way, we drove the Columbia River Gorge again, which is always enjoyable, and stopped at a little rest area to take a quick break, and even though we were in a hurry, I took the time to take a picture of Beacon Rock and read the plaques there. It was interesting. I have a dream of taking a vacation like Mom and Dad's with no agenda in which I stop at every single roadside point of interest, all the ones I've driven past over the last 5 years and not gotten to stop to see. Maybe I'll stop at them all twice on my dream trip just to make it up to myself.

 Also on the way to Moses Lake, after leaving the river and heading across the high plains of Washington, we found the Columbia again, and crossed it again. I love the way the sky looks in this picture, like that gap in the mountains is sucking not only the river water up, but the sky and clouds too. Kind of interesting.
 And on the other side of the river, we climbed the big hill, passing this little water fall...
 ...and also Wild Horses Monument.
 All of those things can be seen from I-90 in central Washington, and we've seen them all before. More of the same for us. But I've not put them on the blog, I think, so it was new stuff to show you so there you go!

And then we arrived in Moses Lake to load our sunflower seeds.

 From there, it was off to Breckenridge, MN, once again, more of the same. Drove through Montana which took all night, and morning found us in western North Dakota on a beautiful morning driving past Theodore Roosevelt National park. Doesn't this picture just make you ache to climb on a horse and go explore?
Miles and miles of exploring to be done there. One of these days....
After our sunflower seed load, we took a load of beet pulp pellets to California. More of the same. We made record time so we could get there and deliver early (like 3:00am) Saturday morning, so we could drive back to Sacramento and load sunflower seeds for Fargo. More of the same.

We left Sacramento with what was to be the last load of sunflower seeds from there until November...probably. They were too moist and so they stopped harvesting for a while until the seeds have time to dry out more.

By Sunday morning sunrise, I was west of Billings, MT passing the Crazy Mountain range in a mist of rain with a rainbow behind me and a gorgeous sunrise in front.

We delivered in Fargo yesterday morning, then sat most of the day waiting for Devils Lake, ND to have enough product to load us.

We left there around midnight last night, and this morning we were west of Billings again, looking at the Crazy Mountains from a different angle with a little more snow on top, and a lot more sunshine.
We're hauling another load of pea flour to that mill in Sacramento. More of the same. And from what I hear, we're loading in Stockton tomorrow morning, and heading to Idaho.

From Idaho, who knows. But we're supposed to get home next week sometime...preferably early on. And I swear! If I see California again before we go home for a break, I'll scream!
Ella agrees. She's already practicing. It's been a very successful round on the road, but I think we're all in agreement. Nine weeks is too long to be gone!

I know this whole post sounds rather negative, but I have to share the ups and downs if this is truely going to be a representation of my life. And right now, even though I still enjoy my job and don't want to be doing something else, its just time for a break! I'm physically and mentally weary. But one more week, and I can rejuvinate and boy howdy, am I looking forward to it! Home and Horses... two things that are a garuntee to make me feel better.

October 10, 2011

The Lucky One

As it is Monday, it is time to choose someone to receive the gift of the two CD's of George Winston piano music that I love so much! I used Random.org to select the winner from among the comments on the post, and

Dreaming of Living A Dream is the lucky one!

Dreaming, I hope you and Doc and Pippin enjoy the music during this season of good things and giving! Send me an email with your address so I can get those in the mail to you!

I really enjoy his music, and think many of you would as well. You can follow this link to see a list of his recordings, as well as learn more about his music and he may even be performing near you. I've been to one concert and would love to go to another!  Consider it if its an option for you!

I like this sharing of good things! I might have to do it more often!

Now, keep reading the next post to learn about our adventures with the sunflower seed circus!

The Sunflower Seed Circus

And truly, the past week has been a circus of sorts, at least where the sunflower seeds are concerned.

Last Monday we loaded sunflower seed in Foxhome, MN and headed out for a Tuesday morning delivery near Spokane, WA.

We hit the Montana state line late in the evening and were driving through eastern Montana's badland country just in time for sunset.
And as usual, Montana put on a show.
All night long we drove, and were parked at the delivery around 6:00 Tuesday morning. I went to bed, and Malcolm got up to wait for the receiver to open, which they did shorty.
Standard proceedure with any grain load is for the load to be "probed" and a sample taken and tested before unloading. They can be checking for anything from moisture content to how much chaff and dirt are mixed in. And usually everything checks out ok. But not this time. They found bugs in the seed. The company we were delivering to mixes and packages birdseed, and as Mom said when I told her about it, "I thought all birdseed has bugs in it." But apparently that happens after its shipped, because the company didn't want the seed.
The shipper called around to see if any other company nearby would buy it, but no one wanted the problem of cleaning it or the risk of contamination, so we turned the truck around and headed back east through Spokane...
...through a very misty and chilly northern Idaho...
...and back into a Montana that was a different world from the day before, where it had been in the 80's and sunny. Western Montana was cloudy, wintry looking, and 47 degrees sure felt cold!
But then we crossed the mountain east of Butte, and when we hit the ground on the other side, the temperature had adjusted to a balmy 67 degrees and climbing, and the sun was out and shining brightly!

So we drove through the night and were back in Foxhome, MN by 7:00 the next morning, where we returned the rejected sunflower seed to its owner. Don't panick too much. The seed was owned by a mill, so the farmer was most likely already paid for it. And fortunatly, we get paid to haul it no matter which direction its going, so we got paid to haul it to Washington and then bring it back to Minnesota. The only ones who were in the hole so to speak were the seed owners. And the birdseed mill was in a pinch b/c they were out of that particular type of seed and in need of some, but at least they hadn't lost any money.

After that there was a bit of a wait to see if the place in Spokane could round up another load of seed for us to bring them in an hurry, but no such luck. So we headed north to Devil's Lake, ND to load some pea starch, which always goes to California.
And on the way west, North Dakota tried to outshine Montana's sunset. It was a close competition.
We stopped for a few hours over night near Ennis, MT, just west of Yellowstone, and you've already heard all about what happened that night and over the course of the next day. SNOW!
We were only in the snow during the morning hours. The rest of the day and evening was on dry roads and since there was no hurry we just kicked back and took it easy.
After delivering on Friday morning south of Sacramento, we drove to the north side of town to pick up sunflower seeds for another trip to Fargo. And the sunflower seed circus came to town again. This time, it was on account of all that mountain top snow, which had been rain in California. The sunflower field was too damp to harvest. They wanted to give it another day to dry out, and told us they'd try and harvest Saturday morning. So the four trucks that were there to load Friday were just out of luck, us included. We all parked at the only truck stop in Sacramento to wait and see.

It is in fact the only truck stop between Reno, NV and San Francisco, and their food is lousy, their building is not kept clean, and they charge trucks $12 a day to park there, unless you spend $50 in the store or restaurant or buy 75 gallons of their over priced fuel. But we didn't have any other options on places to go and wait.

And then Saturday morning the sunflower ringmaster came over to the truck stop to tell us it was still too damp, and they just figured they'd wait till Monday and see how it was. That was really discouraging. I wish they had just made the decision on Friday so that the broker could have found us something else to do. But there was nothing to be done at that point. The broker was off hunting, and most places are closed on the weekend, and so we were just out of luck, along with the other 4 trucks. One of the other drivers was from a town close to our home town, and we spent the weekend visiting with him over meals at a much better restaurant he showed us down the road. We ate to fill the time, and in between meals, I read books, and Malcolm played on the computer, and the girls did what the girls seem to do most of the time...
After an absolutely gorgeous weekend weather wise, Monday morning dawned very gray and ominous looking.
We were all a little apprehensive about how things might turn out. We were called out to the field as the second truck. The first truck got loaded, but as they were finishing him up, it started to sprinkle lightly. And by the time we had pulled into position, it was getting steadily harder. They tried to keep harvesting, but it wasn't long before the sunflower heads were holding the seed instead of releasing them, and so they stopped work, and we headed back to the truck stop. No harvesting till tomorrow, if then.
In addition to the four trucks from Friday, there were now also the four trucks that should have loaded today! We expected to not be around till tomorrow, and sure enough, it wasn't a half hour before our broker had something else for us to do... thank goodness! So long Sacramento!

We drove 40 miles north to load pears. Pears don't mind getting wet!
We'll be in Vancouver, WA in the morning, rain or shine, and unload these pears, rain or shine! Let it rain, it won't matter!
And then the tentative plan is to drive to eastern Washington and load.......sunflower seed. Keep your fingers crossed that the circus is over and has taken down the tent for the year!

October 7, 2011

Switching Gears

I realize we were just discussing Autumn and how much we all enjoy it, but we're going to have to switch gears here for just a moment. It is the first week of October after all, and so there shouldn't be any issue in moving ahead and thinking about winter, or seeing it in action for that matter. Do you mind?

There will be no complaints about bug splatter on the windshield in this post. That is not what is interfering with my pictures. And though, at a glance, it might look like innocent rain, it was not that either that caused an out of focus photograph of lodge pole pines south of Yellowstone.
No, my friends, those would be splattered snow flakes. Not convinced? How about now? Can you see them here?
Still not good enough for you? Well you can try to be in denial all you want, but no one can ignore the evidence I present in the next picture.
Yesterday morning we were traveling south through the northeastern side of Idaho, making our way towards California. The pictures above were all taken while in the higher elevations. At Ashton, ID, the road descends a steep hill, aptly named the "Ashton Hill" and drops down onto lower, flatter ground. About 60 miles later we stopped in Idaho Falls to shower and have breakfast.
We had left the snow flurries in the mountains, so we were a bit surprised when, as we pulled off the exit ramp, suddenly the sky filled with snow flakes...and we're not talking flurries. I said snow flakes, quite a lot of them.

We showered and then went to the cafe and enjoyed a nice brunch while watching the heavy snow showers very quickly and efficiently cover...everything!
 Mind you, I'd been keeping up with the weather, having noticed that the mountains in numerous states were expecting a decent first winter snow. But we had not expected to see snow once we left the mountains, especially since it wasn't snowing in the mountains we'd just left.
By the end of breakfast, there were golf ball size wads of snow falling rapidly out of the sky and splattering and sticking to lots of things.

And I suddenly had three very disgruntled Chinese Cresteds on my hands.
To them, the wet and cold is bad enough, but having to put clothes on is a HUGE insult! However, at 33 degrees, I figured we might as well get the initial "I hate my lady b/c she puts clothes on me" fits over with.
Those fits will continue with Jean throughout the entire winter season. Paris eventually puts two and two together and seems to understand that she's warmer. (she is the smartest one in the lot after all) And Ella has always been kind of indifferent to clothes season, though she did back away from me some this year when she saw what was coming. We'll see how she handles it in the months to come.

The snow was over just south of Idaho Falls and we were in rain till we got to the Nevada line at Jackpot, NV. But those golden hills of my post from last week had a new show to put on. They all got dressed up in lace Wednesday night.

About 70 miles south of Jackpot is I-80, some glorious mountains, and the town of Wells, none of which could be seen. Apparently there were still some lingering snow showers.
In fact, there were a few more scattered showers here and there, but they all stayed well south of the interstate, and we only had a few stray spatters on our windshield through the evening.
There had been some moments of irritation earlier in the day when we read that California was requiring snow chains to cross Donner's Summit in the Sierra Nevadas. Our snow chains were in the garage at home. Nice place for them don't you think? We were holding out as long as possibly so we didn't have to haul around the added weight, but plans this year were to buy new chains, and so we picked up the necessary number of sets while in Idaho Falls and got that over with. Luckily, and we figured it would go this way, the chain laws were lifted long before we got to the NV/CA line around midnight on Thursday. But we've got the chains now, so let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Ok, not really. I love winter, but I'd like to enjoy a few more weeks of Autumn if you don't mind? After all I just got started on my celebration! We'll think about winter later.

End Notes:
Annette, thank you for the blog award! I am touched. I am so glad you enjoy my blog!

To all: If your just catching up with me, be sure to check out the following post. I'm sharing some of my favorite seasonal (that would be Autumn seasonal) piano music with a lucky person. Winner to be announced on Monday.

October 4, 2011

The Season of Good Things and Giving

Autumn to me is the season of good things and giving. There is something in the air, even at the first hints of the coming of Autumn, that electrifies my soul. Autumn feeds my senses with delights.

When the first colors start to make their appearance, my eyes feast on the variations. There is something thrilling about discovering the first leaves of color change. I love the colors of Autumn!
I love the tastes of Autumn. Surely you've noticed that the flavor of our food completely changes when the season changes. I start to crave things like beef stew and soups, home made bread and pecan pie. My newest craving is for some of these sticky-bun pumpkin muffins Mom made last weekend. Just their name has "Fall" written all over it! I can't wait to try the recipe when we get home.

The food falls into the scents of Autumn as well. I can just imagine how wonderful those muffins must smell. But even more than the scents of the food, I love the sharp smells the outside air takes on. The smells of baked grasses, warm earth, and so much more. I couldn't even really pin point what all goes into the "smell of Autumn" but it does have its own smell and I enjoy every whiff I get.

I love the sounds of Autumn! The crunch of dry grasses under my boots, the rattle of the breeze in dried leaves.

Even the birds songs seem to change. They are just as pretty as ever, but they seem to carry a new message, a note of "hurry," a calling together of friends to prepare for what's to come. I love listening to the birds songs in Autumn.
Another sound of Autumn for me is the music of George Winston. When I was a girl, my mom shared a record album with me. It was called December and I loved it. I've loved it ever since.  When the colors start to appear in the trees, and the grasses start to crunch, and good food starts to be craved, I get my December CD out and start listening to it.
It wasn't just the December album that my Mom gave me really, but a treasure of good music. I have since acquired a number of George Winston's albums and listen to them frequently. My other favorite of his is his Autumn album, and it too gets played frequently during this season.
There is just something about this season that speaks to me. Does it speak to you too? There is something exciting about it. And I love to share good things with my good friends. I can't share those muffins with you when I bake some, and I can't go for a walk with you on a beautiful fall day, but I can share the music of autumn with you! Here is a little sampling. Can you hear why I love it so much?

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A few of my favorite songs from my favorite two albums are on that playlist. And since Autumn begins, at least for me, a season of giving, I'm going to share the music of my favorite pianist further by giving these 2 Cd's to someone. I'll draw a name from the comments list next Monday, 10/10/11. If you would like a chance to be the one receiving the the Autumn and December CDs, all you have to do is leave me a comment on this post and share with us what your favorite thing about Autumn is.

(And before I go, I just wanted to share a note on the cabin pictures in this post. This cabin sits by the road down near the summer pasture. It is an old log church, with a tiny graveyard hidden in the tall grasses nearby. I know nothing about its age or history, but hope to learn more about it in the future. I bet it has a story to tell.)