August 18, 2012

A Fair Time

We've been home for a couple weeks. It's been nice to be off the road.

We've both been staying busy with home and trucking chores, but despite the work, it's still been a fair time.

A few of the things we've been up to:
Aren't these gorgeous? Makes me think of Christmas. Know what they are?
They are called Buffalo Berries and Malcolm and I went and picked a couple of quarts. That's all we got because we weren't sure we'd even like the jelly, plus the bushes have some lethal thorns and we got tired of being pricked and scratched up. But it turns out I LOVE the way the jelly tastes! Strange berries! When you boil them and then squeeze out the juice, you get a bowl of milky white liquid that smells kind of odd. But then you add sugar and cook it and it turns a pretty shade of orangy pink and taste sweet and tart. I spent an afternoon in the kitchen and ended up with three pretty jars....
...of very runny jelly, even after a second round in the pot and adding more fruit pectin. Oh well. It was fun making it, even if it is too runny (even for syrup).

I also spent a couple afternoons working on a quilting project, trying to rebuild my confidence to attack the Civil War quilt again. I've been wary of triangles and piece work ever since my catastrophe with that one block, over a year ago, and haven't touched it sense. But I felt like working on something so I pulled out a table runner pattern that I'd been collecting fabrics for and decided to give it a whirl. It was fun, and easy, and my corners don't meet up perfectly in a couple places, but it still turned out pretty good. I have a little more confidence now. It helped that my mother-in-law loaned me her sewing machine, which is better than mine. I think I might need an upgrade.
I've spent a lot of time in the kitchen these past couple weeks. We've been eating pretty good, and I've had fun cooking. I went through my cabinets and freezer and listed all the things I had on hand because some of my stock needs to be used. I figured out some menu plans that I had everything for (only needed a handful of ingredients from the store to make it all work). Some things were just so-so, and some was really good. These mashed potato patties were one of the good things.
I've been missing my family and old home in Tennessee a lot lately, so I've been going for comfort food that reminds me of home there. One of the things I've learned to enjoy a lot is some tea my mom starting making a couple years ago and I enjoyed it so much I started making it at home. I make a pitcher of green tea, and throw in a couple tea bags of some flavored black tea. My current favorite is blackberry sage. I like it unsweetened, but I also like to add a half cup of honey (I make 2 quarts of tea) to it to give it just a bit of sweetness, and the honey compliments the blackberry nicely. It's cool and refreshing.
While I've been doing all this, Malcolm was helping with haying and then went to work on the truck. The truck needed a better radiator because it was having trouble staying cool. So we put the new radiator in and he's done some other things too. Also been at work on our two trailers that needed some work. Just like in any business, our equipment is in constant need of maintenance and such. Wish it didn't take up so much of his time, but I'm glad he enjoys mechanic work so much. It's a good thing. I've been helping him a lot this last week on his jobs, and took on a project all by myself. I disassembled the old radiator so we could take it in for scrap. You get more credit if they are already disassembled.
Work, work, work, and stressing a bit over the gray truck. It's been on the lot in Billings trying to find a new owner. We were a little bit on pins and needles because the payoff was coming up fast and we didn't want to have to make it. So we were just beside ourselves when we got a call Thursday and the dealership informed us that the truck was sold! ONE day before the payout was going to have to be sent in! Talk about cutting it close, but we're not complaining!

To celebrate, we went to town on Friday and visited the Fallon County Fair! OK, I was celebrating and Malcolm was indulging me. He's not a big fair kind of guy, but he is good about taking me and enjoying it with me.
We went to the fair last year, on Sunday, for the rodeo, but at that point, being the last day, most people had packed up their exhibits and gone home, so I wanted to make sure I got in to see them this year.
The Fallon County Fair is not big by some standards, but it's a nice fair. The advantage of not being huge is that you don't get jostled around by a lot of people, and yet it's still big enough to draw in some nice performers and stuff. We were there at lunch time on Friday so it wasn't very crowded at all. Perfect conditions for me!
First stop, LUNCH! Fair food around here means these really yummy Indian Tacos...
...but I didn't think I could eat a whole one at the time, so I had a Spartan Taco, which is basically a taco in a Doritos bag...with the Doritos. Yum!
Then it was on to the exhibit hall to see what people had brought in.
They had brought in a lot of stuff! There was quite a variety of things! I enjoyed seeing all the vegetables from area gardens.
And of course I was drawn to all the flowers.
 This was my favorite arrangement. I thought it was very creative, bright, and cheerful!

Quilts! You'd never guess I'd have found my way to this corner, would you?
After the exhibit hall, it was on to the building with the animals. And on the way, we paused to look over the machinery they had on display.
I never get tired of the farm animals! The sounds, the sights, even the smells, which I know many people find unappealing. But I've never minded the odor of cattle and horses, and just farm smells in general.
The goats drew me in first, not just because they were the first group we came across, but because they are goats and they just have a way of demanding attention.
Goats never fail to entertain me...and make Malcolm groan. I think he dreads the day I get mine...
 as he frequently points out goats along the roadside that have escaped their confines, and others who are standing on things they probably shouldn't be (like cars).
But he does this with a smile and a laugh in his voice, so I know he's not going to deny me the fun of having a couple of dairy goats when the time comes.

Malcolm is always drawn to the sheep. He harbors a deep love for sheep, and often tells stories of long cold nights in the lambing barn, or makes references to one sheep related adventure or another.
 He spent quite a bit of time admiring the sheep, and talking to different ones, and judging their personalities by their reaction to having a visitor.
 A quick glance at the pigs....
...and then it was on to poultry!!!
 Quite a variety of chickens, ducks, and rabbits. It was fun to walk through and see them all. And then we ran across these three geese who were taking a nap, balanced on one foot and with their heads tucked in. So peaceful...
...until we arrived. Malcolm was saying something about how geese don't like him, and as we paused by their cage, the front one suddenly looked up at him, and the next thing we knew, the three were raising cane and making the biggest racket, I'm sure everyone in the building thought we'd done something to them!
After that, we were pretty much done. We'd seen some neat things, run into some people we knew, and had a good time. But it was time to say goodbye to the fair for another year...
...and head home to do some more chores, like laundry!
Today and tomorrow is "gather things together and pack the truck" time because we're hitting the road again Monday morning. We've been home two weeks, but it feels like longer than that. I feel like it's been a good long break, and I'm actually looking forward to going back to work. I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the road and go back with a force and drive hard and make money! Hope it works that way!

I've neglected reading blogs while I was home and I just discovered this morning that a friend of mine is doing a giveaway, and it's a pretty neat one! It's her blog anniversary and to celebrate she's got a pretty nifty little package put together. All that's required is a comment, but I thought I'd go ahead and share it, even though it means more competition for me. You can check out the possibilities at A Life on Dreams and a Prayer.