Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Twas The Week Before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas and all through land, everyone was busy with projects so grand.  

Christmas programs were singing of Santa's great plans, as we laughed because Mesa couldn't figure out where to keep her hands! 

Scout Elves were working to make sure kids behaved,  

 And making all kinds of mischief at night when they played

From Painting to Zip Lines, with dinos he played, for a whole week his nightly trips to Santa he made.

With snow in the air, I parked my car, and didn't drive it until the wind stopped blowing so hard!

 An early Christmas present, from her list she did get, (hope fully I wont find myself homeless because of it!)

  A beautiful Christmas Eve with snow perfect for sledding,

So enticing it was that even I joined the fun, to the fence I did sled, and then I was done! 

 Cookies for Santa, we baked twice, because we ate all the first batch before Christmas Eve Night!

 So many good times, it would take to long to tell, but here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas as well!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Five- Truly Random Edition

I figure I'm so far behind, I can get away with two Friday Five posts today... And still have tons of stuff to write about later on!  (Again, some of these are old and just now getting posted) 

1.  Hunting season out here begins in September and ends Thanksgiving weekend.  J&J spent quite a few weekends stalking Antelope, Elk and Deer... Jeannie got this Antelope buck one Sunday afternoon.  (It was supposed to snow the next day, so I arrived just in time to see him when they got home)  

2.  Black Friday, Jeannie, Cassie & I got some "Cousin Time"  without any of the littles.  We (crazily) went shopping at 3:00am, ate breakfast at Denny's, did plenty of Christmas shopping and ended up back at Jeannie's where we made soap and candles.  (I told you these Clarks have weird hobbies)  Seriously, it was a lot of fun and such a shame Cassie doesn't live closer... we'd probably get into more trouble together if she did!

3.  Gingerbread Houses-  I've been in on building 2 this year... Cortlin and I tag-teamed this one Thanksgiving weekend and Mesa and I made one at the house last weekend.  Not sure I'm an expert yet, but we had a blast!  

4.  Addison had her 6th birthday!  At the skating rink!  Oh the memories of what is now Watson's Funeral Home!  I didn't skate the whole time, but I did manage to make it through without falling down!  And I was feeling it the next day... maybe we should go back again.... it was a pretty good thigh workout!  This place had a serious rackett going on!  They had made "walkers" with wheels to help the little kids learning to skate.   I bet they had 15 dollars in each of them and they were rented out the whole time-- at $2.50 an hour, they were making some serious jack on some pvc pipe and skate wheels.

5.  Winter has set in up here.  There's only a little part of the clark's fork that isn't frozen over, and it's pretty full of ice most mornings.  Morning temps in the singles and teens and mid day up in the 30's/40's... absolutely beautiful weather!  (Almost warm enough to leave the jacket in the car! HA!) I've been staying in Laurel this week, so I've gotten to enjoy seeing all the pretty scenery covered in white while I've been driving.  I even braved driving in the snow one morning this week.  The ladies from work called because I was later than I was supposed to be!  The didn't know if they were going to have to send someone to get me! lol... just glad they cared enough to be worried!

All in all, its been a pretty busy month... with the best adventures yet to tell!  

Until Next Time! 

Friday Five-- Ladies Edition


I realize that this edition of the Friday Five is way overdue... so overdue in fact, that these pictures were all taken over a month ago!  (Oh Well, I've been busy!)  

In honor of the gift giving season, here's a few of my new favorite things... Montana approved!  

1.  Wool Socks-  If you're like me, your first thought of wool socks is ITCHY.  But seriously, these socks are amazing!  For some reason, they keep your feet dry and warm without being too bulky or uncomfortable.  These come from Costco (something Florida could use)  and Jeannie got me hooked on them.  I think I'm up to 3 packs of them now, all different colors so I can match them easily :) 

2.. Calypso Southern Peach Lemonade- Not really sure just how southern it is, but it tastes amazing!  The only place I've found it is the IGA in Laurel, but I get one every time I go to the grocery store.

3. Coconut Oil-  I've been hearing about coconut oil for a couple of years, but out here, its kind of an essential!  The lack of humidity this time of year is even more horrible.  (Great for hair, not so much so for skin :-( )  I've found that using coconut oil as a moisturizer is about the best thing for my skin.  Also works great as a shaving cream, but it will kill a razor blade-- but your skin will feel amazing!

4.  Dry Shampoo- My friend Christi B. explained just what it was to me a couple of years ago, and so every time I use it, I think of her.  Seriously though, I never understood how someone could go without washing your hair everyday until I got out here.  Thankfully, this lets me go an extra day without washing it, saves some stress on my hair and is the perfect amount of product to get my hair to hold curls from a curling iron!  This one has a little bit of a smell, but I've been pretty happy with the results.

5.  I don't have a picture for this one, but I do have a little bit of advice to impart- if you ever travel anywhere that it gets really cold, be sure to take your make-up inside with you. Maybe I'm the only one who leaves make-up in the car (I like to think its better lighting, but I'm sure its because I'm always running late)  but I learned a hard lesson a couple of weeks ago.  MASCARA WILL FREEZE IN THE TUBE!!  Yeah, you read that right.  My almost brand-new tube of mascara is worthless because when it freezes in the tube, the brush will break off in it!  Lesson learned... I think!

What are some of your latest favorite things?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Its A Clark Thing

Thirty one years ago, mom's dad passed away the week of Thanksgiving.  At the time, there were 3 grand-kids, age 3.5, 1.5 and 6 months. (That was Dustin, Me, and Frankie)  Needless to say, we don't really remember that much about him except what we've been told.  Today, there are 25 first cousins that range in age from 35 to 7.  Growing up, our parents made sure we got to spend time together in the summers, at family reunions and especially Thanksgiving.  Moving out here has given me the opportunity to get to know some family that we didn't get to spend a lot of time with growing up.  Along the way, we've figured out that even though we grew up thousands of miles apart, we've actually got a lot in common.  We laugh and call them "Clark-Things"  

In honor of Thanksgiving- which is the unofficial Clark Holiday- here's my list of "Clark Things"  

1.  We love to eat and cook, but not a single one of us uses a recipe!  True story, Uncle Joe made the most amazing salmon bisque I've ever had the first time I visit them in California.  When we went back a couple of years later, I asked if he was going to make it again and he looked at me with a blank look-- because he had no clue how he had made it that time!  Come to find out, we're all that way!  

2.  We are fiercely patriotic.  Of the 25 cousins, 8 are either former or active military members (or about to go in.)  Three generations of our family have served our country proudly.  We might bend the rules a little when we don't think they make sense, but we all believe in showing respect for our country and the men and women who protect and defend it.  

3.  We are as different as night and day, but all have a deep love of family.  As different as we all are, I don't know a single one of us who would willingly pass up on the opportunity to visit with one of the family.  We've been known to meet at the interstate just to see each other for 15 minutes when someone is passing through town.  And forget a hotel room, we'll all sleep on the floor or couch if it means getting to spend a little bit more time together!  We don't talk on a daily basis, but there's not a single Clark I know if that wouldn't do whatever they needed to do to help the family if they got in a bind.   

4.  We are life-long learners.  I don't mean this in the we all have advanced degrees way, I mean that we are constantly trying something new.  I don't know a single Clark that doesn't have some kind of hobby that required them to teach themselves something.  Jeannie & Dustin make cheese, Michele loves photography, Cassie cans, and the list goes on and on... On top of that, we're full of "useless" knowledge.  Who else would know what a group of kangaroos is called? 

5.  We're procrastinators, but we're good at it!  I can't tell you how many times I finished a project that was well done, but could have been done better if I had started sooner or how many times I've heard my cousins say the same thing!  

I'm sure this list could go on and on.  And I'm sure my cousins and aunts and uncles could add a few more. Feel free to comment and add your own "Clark Things" if you think of one I've forgotten! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's that White Stuff??

I came in for lunch yesterday and was reminded that I was behind blogging (I've got so much help in that department... mom, uncle, cousin, friends...)  So, I thought I'd see what I haven't shared yet!  

 Everyone jokes that at home there's two seasons, hot and not quite as hot... well up here, there are definitely different seasons!  Arriving in summer, it really didn't feel much different than it did when I left Florida... with the exception of WAY less humidity!  It basically stayed that way until the first week of October when all of the sudden, long sleeves and jackets became necessary.  I think I've probably had 10-15 people ask me if I was cold enough yet, but honestly, it's just not the same.  In the fall, its down in the 30's at night and gets up in to the 50's during the day.  A few days, it hasn't. 

View from my office window

Morning Commute

First Snow!  I learned why you need Snow Brushes that day! 
 So far, nothing has really stuck longer than a couple of days, but I'm pretty sure something will eventually!  If I'm completely honest, I get kind of nervous about driving in it (read that CHICKEN.)  So, I have been staying at Jeannie's house a whole lot more.  (Every time they predict more than flurries... Except for the fact that the weather channel can't seem to get the forecast correct!)

 I did decide one day that I was going to be brave and just drive from the Hill to Columbus because it wasn't supposed to snow/stick that night and I woke up to this!  (it wasn't but about 1/2 an inch or a skiff as they call it out here)  We'll see how I do once it gets cold enough to stick around!

And of course, I couldn't leave you without a pic of my "ride-or-die"  partner in crime!  When I got home that day, the girls were sledding, so we headed out to play with them.  I loaded Lucy up on the sled with me and headed down the hill... she jumped off the front and I had to do a sideways flip almost to keep from running over her!  (Thank goodness there are no pictures to share of that!)  

It's supposed to snow again in the morning... or all day... who knows!  Either way, I'm not frozen yet... and still enjoying a change of scenery!  

Until Next Time... Have you ever driven in snow?  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fire up the Forge


Among other things, my uncle is a farrier.  He trims and shoes horses for people all over the area as well as the horses at the stockyards where he works.  A couple of weeks ago, I came home to see this portable forge fired up on the porch and "sharp shoes" being made.  Really simply put, sharp shoes are like cleats for horses.  Why would horses need cleats?  Well, unlike Florida, they get a lot of ice out here... and ice gets slick... so shoes that will bite into the ice are necessary to keep working horses from slipping and falling in rough conditions.  They also work well in areas where the horses are worked on concrete a majority of the time.  

After watching both him and Angie make shoes, I decided I needed to give it a try.  So, Monday night, when he fired up the forge to make a couple of pairs, I grabbed a pair of gloves and volunteered to do it.  First things first... make sure you've got good gloves!  The shoes get super hot (DUH)  and the tongs get hot as well!  It was kind of awkward at first, but it got easier the more I did. Evidently, if you keep making them, you eventually learn how to work the tongs with one hand... me, not so much!

 The shoes are made by adding chunks of drill-tech to the toe and heels of the shoes.  Drill tech is a mixture of tungsten carbide in a brass-nickel matrix.  (Yes I copied this definition from another site)  It comes in coarse, medium and fine particle sizes (we use the coarse because it has larger carbide chunks and they "bite" better) and look like fat welding rods.  The rods get chopped up into 1/2 inch chunks.

Each shoe goes in and out of the forge about 6 times each.  (This forge is pretty small, so you can't do the entire shoe at one time... you have to turn them to get the heat on the part you're working on at the time.) You have to pay attention so that you get the metal hot enough to melt together.

Once you get the metal hot, you bring it out and put it on the anvil. Borax is used as a flux to help the two pieces melt together. )See it's not just for doing laundry!)   Confession:  There's a small part of me with pyromaniacal (sp?) tendencies, and seeing the borax sizzle on the hot metal is actually pretty cool!  (I know...weird)  

Once you get the borax on, it's time to add the drill tech chunks.  I think this might have been the hardest part for me because you had to get it centered, and the horseshoe was too hot to touch, so you had to use the tongs to put the little pieces on the points of the shoes where the nails don't go.

Then it's back into the forge until you see the metal start to puddle.  I don't really know how to explain it, but I know I have some welder friends who can relate.  It's just one of those things that when you see it, you know it!  Once you see it, the shoes come out and the puddle gets spread around so that it makes a nice little cleat on the toe and heels of the shoe.

 Once they're done, the shoes get dunked into a bucket of water to cool.  I use the term cool loosely, because what it really does is make the water really hot really fast!  Like I'm talking boiling!

Here are my first 6 shoes... which are now being sported by some happy horses at the stockyards!

Disclaimer:  Any false information is my fault... I got a thorough explaination from the Uncle, so if I messed it up, it will be ok!

Until Next Time!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Pickin' & Carvin'

Last Friday, the day had finally arrived for Mesa's big sleepover and pumpkin carving.  After work, I picked up Bailey & Addy and met Mesa at the Pumpkin Patch.  Angie told me about this one and then a friend from work recommend it as well, and I can report that it was even better than I would have thought!  We were running late that afternoon, so I was worried that all we would get to do was pick out our pumpkins, but when we got there, we had plenty of time to explore!  

We loaded up on the wagon to ride out to the corn maze and pumpkin patch and these girls were excited!   

First stop was the far side of the corn maze.  You had to find your way through the corn to get to the pumpkin patch on the other side.  I wandered along behind, letting the girls run ahead to find the right trail.  They only had to turn around once before they made it through the maze.  

 I love these girls, they crack me up so much and this picture pretty much sums them up.  Addy always has a crazy expression, but it's one of the things I love most about her!  Mesa is always excited and up for an adventure, and Bailey, well, she's the quiet one... just happy to be going and doing.  They make it so much fun to be out here and keep me from being quite so homesick for my babies at the house.

The corn maze ends in the pumpkin patch where you can pick your very own pumpkin to take back.  I think we probably rolled 10 or 15 pumpkins apiece while they were picking thiers out!  Had to check for soft spots and just the right shape and would it sit up when you went to carve it... such a hard job!

We finally settled on pumpkins and started heading back to the hay wagon to ride back to the store/barn.  Mean old Katie that I am, I made them carry their own pumpkins!  You should have heard the whining!  I loved every minute of it!

The Lucky Pumpkins

I did manage to get one picture with all 4 of us in it... even if it's not exactly all of us!  But I think it's a fun one!

Once we got back to the barn, we weighed out pumpkins, paid the bill and headed to the car, but not before we snapped a pic in one of the great cut-outs that they had!

You would have thought it was going to kill them to wait until Saturday morning to carve them!  Luckily, between playing UNO Spin and sleeping on the floor, they managed to make it through the night!  Saturday morning, we shipped J&J off for a short hunting trip and we headed outside to gut & carve their pumpkins. Jeannie warned me that Bailey didn't like pulling out the guts, but she did pretty good... I only had to tell them about 50 times a piece that they didn't have enough out yet!  Addy was the first one to get all her guts out.  Mesa's pumpkin was a little harder to get into with the scoop to get it cleaned out.  

Gushy Guts!

Important Suggestion here:  Go buy the pumpkin carving kit... then they can do it themselves!  And those little saws just work better!  We did make a pit stop between the gutting and the carving to run to the IGA to see if they had any carving tools... since I forgot to make it to Walmart during the week!  I even managed to let them do it all themselves!  (They drew what they wanted to carve, and for the most part carved them... I did help Addy a little, but she did an awesome job!)  

By the time we got done, and played for a few more hours, it was time to go home.  Mesa was pretty quiet when we got in the car, and I kinda figured this would happen as soon as she got still... evidently Lucy was just as worn out as she was!

Tired Girls 

And here's the final products all lit up!  We had a blast & I think they did an awesome job!  

Bailey & Addy