Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Ride & A Hike

 Friday, I headed over to Jeannie & Jeremy's house to hang out for a while (You know, since I havent started a job yet...)  When Jeremy got off early, Bailey begged to ride and so we all loaded up for a ride up the hill on the horses. Bailey's horse, Rosie, surprised them with a colt this spring so Pippin joined us for our jaunt, keeping up with his mama and occasionally sneaking a snack along the way.    I took several pictures on the way up the hill, which was pretty steep...I was leaning forward and holding on tho the horn most of the way up!  The "hill"  behind their house belongs to Jeremy's family and their cows are up in that pasture.  It's quite a view from the top, just a little high getting up there.  
Have I mentioned how much I am in love with the panoramic feature on my iPhone?  Let me tell you again... its amazing, awesome, and about the best way I can show you what it's like up here... and really, there isn't a camera made that I believe can compare to seeing it in person! Jeremy and the girls played tag when on horse back when we finally go to the top of the hill while Jeannie and I followed along a little more leisurely.  From the top of the hill you can see all of Columbus and almost over to where the Stillwater River flows into the Yellowstone.  One of these days, I hope we're going to get the chance to float down those two before it gets too cold!  

While Pippin was sneaking a snack, Bailey bailed off on him, he wasn't quite sure what to think, but I'm pretty sure that by the time he's old enough to break, his only problem is going to be that he's TOO gentle!   
 I didn't take very many pictures on the way down... quite frankly, I felt like I needed to channel some Man from Snowy River on the return trip... but I did snap this picture when we started back.  
I'm really thinking I should visit a spy store and invest in a pair of glasses with a camera in the corner so that all I have to do is touch the corner of my glasses and it takes the picture... that would be a whole lot easier some of the places we've been lately!  When we made it back down to the bottom, Bailey and Addison were in the lead and I couldn't pass up the chance to snap such a sweet sister picture!

Saturday Morning, Mesa and I got up early and drove over to meet the crew for a day trip up to the Big Timber Creek (pronounced Crick) Falls in the Crazy Mountains.  Since J&J were bringing their dogs, Lucy got a chance to tag along and make her first hike!  I wasn't quite sure how she was going to do, but I should have known she would love it!  She even behaved so well, I let her off her leash and she got to run with the "big dogs"  The stinker even sneaked a strawberry Twizzlers out of the back-pack while we were playing in the creek.  (I'm not sure how that's going to work out digestively, but she liked chewing on it!)  And, she is still the only dog I know that doesn't like to play in the water.  I would sit her down in the creek and she would very quickly climb her way back out.  (Of course, it might have had something to do with the temperature of the water! 

Bottom Up & Top Down 
This was my first time hiking up in the mountains and I realized that I am gonna need some serious practice before me make any really long ones!  The falls are about half to 3/4 of a mile from the trail head, and according to Jeremy, we were at about 7000 feet in elevation. (Thin Air... that's what I'm using as my excuse)  We stopped at the bottom of the falls and another family was there.  We THOUGHT he was going to jump in to the pool at the bottom, so we kinda moved on slowly, but he never did while we were waiting... oh well. Right before we moved on, I looked up and saw a guy standing at what looked like the top of the falls, so on the way back down we hiked up to where he had been standing and I took picture looking back down to where we were that morning.

The other reason they picked this trip is the natural water slide that's a little above the falls.  Talk about cool!  Jeremy was the brave one and went down it first and then the girls all rode down it with him!  Maybe next time I'll get brave enough to go down it myself!  (I tried to attach a video of him sliding down it below... but it didn't work. I think I'm eventually gonna have to find someone to help me figure that one out!)

After everyone who wanted to had a turn going down the water slide,we spread out on some of the rocks below and had a snack/played in the REALLY COLD water!  (Can we say colder than the springs... like ice your foot cold!)  The girls scrounged around for wild onions and wild flowers like Indian paintbrush while we snacked on bottles of water, Twizzlers, and granola bars.

The dogs splashed and explored and I even saw a fish fly over one of the little falls!

Before we left, I snapped a picture of the girls on the bridge.  The walk down wasn't quite as taxing, but there was a lot of rocks, which required paying some attention to where you put your feet!  At one point on the trail down, we stopped so the girls could pick some wild raspberries that were growing in one of the rock slides.  We had to have a talk about good berries and bad berries before we headed up, so it was really cool that they got to pick some on the way down.

Once we got back to the trail head, we started looking for somewhere to picnic.  We ended up driving back down to a campsite where they stayed the last time they went camping up in that area.  It was right beside the creek and the kids were able to play while Jeremy grilled hot dogs.  And the best part was that we basically had the whole area to ourselves!

I tried to wade in the creek at that spot, but was quickly reminded that before we make another trip, I need to purchase some water shoes!  (OUCH!)  I say "before we make another trip" because I can't wait to get to go again!

On the way home, the girls crashed out in the back seat.  I guess all that playing was hard work!  

The Perfect Picnic Spot

Friday, July 26, 2013

You know I love a fair!

Of course, you know I would end up arriving here right in time for fair season!  Last week, was the Stillwater County Fair, this week is the Carbon County Fair and next week starts Montana Fair.  I've been visiting them with Jeannie and the girls and have learned a lot about sheep showing/judging.

Friday night, we traveled back to the fairgrounds for their county's fair fundraiser, The Pig Wrestling Contest! I have to  admit, this might have been one of the coolest fundraisers I've seen at a fair.  The contest is broken into different age brackets starting with PeeWee (little kids) and right on up to the adults!  There's bragging rights at stake as well as cash prizes.  All of the entry fees go back to the teams competing as cash prizes.  The fundraiser part comes during the calcutta for the teams.  Each team is auctioned off and 50% of the proceeds from the calcutta goes to the Fair/4H.  The other 50% is split between the buyers of the 1st, 2nd & 3rd place teams.  Some of those teams sold for $300-$400 dollars!  

 The size of the pigs varies by age group and the teams have to put the pigs into a barrel tail first.  The pigs have been coated in bentonite clay so they're pretty slick and the ring is full of wet, slick mud!  Suffice to say that if you are involved, you're probably gonna come out covered in clay!
 The local fire department (who had their own team as well)  Hosed everyone off after they came out of the wrestling pit.  I think some of those kids were more excited about getting hosed off by the fire truck than about wrestling the pigs in the first place!  IT was definately one of the coolest fundraisers I've attended in a while!

The Bigger the Wrestler The Bigger the Pig & Barrel!
 The other thing that I absolutely love about the fairs up here is their Round Robins.  I competed in one of these in college, but up here they all have one!  Bailey was one of two kids showing dairy goats which helped her to qualify for the Junior competition even though it was only her first year showing.   The way it works is that the top two showmen from every division go into a points driven show-off.  The species represented are determined by the participation of the kids.  The kids have about 5 minutes per species and they have to show both of the animals of the participants.  They get a score between 1 and 5 (preferably with half and quarter points)  with the winner being chosen based on total points earned.  (I know that I would have been all over this in school and I'm pretty sure some of my students would be too!)

After the showing was done, the kids that competed all lined up to hear the results.  Bailey and one other novice got moved up to compete with the junior kids. And while she didn't win, she did an awesome job and out-showed several of the older kids in her divison!

Before the sale, they passed out trophies for all the showmanship and production awards.  Bailey got to come home with a trophy for being the reserve champion in the Goat showmanship.   All in all she had a great week showing and I really enjoyed getting to see how things were done somewhere else.  (I also enjoyed not being in charge of ANYTHING)

Until Next Time...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Settling In

I realize I haven't posted in about a week... which may or may not happen pretty often as this year goes by!  The last week has been a lot of settling in and figuring out where I was... literally and otherwise!  

Last Thursday, after a good nights rest, and waking up at 5:30 AM because the sun was shining in my window, I got my first experience with hauling water (which did not actually happen at 5:30 AM).  For those who aren't familiar with western states water rights, there are places where either there isn't any water or someone else already owns the rights to what water is there.  In this case, when my Uncle's family built their place, they drilled for a well, but didn't find any water.  SO, what do you do?  Well, they buy water in town and haul it up the hill to be stored in cisterns for both the house and Barn.  For the house, they usually haul a load (1000 gallons) every two or three weeks but the barn requires hauling more often, especially in the summers.  This isn't an uncommon situation out here and there are even places in town that have to have buy water.  So much so that there are a couple of water delivery services in town.  

I've been driving around a lot, trying to figure out exactly where things are located.  The area of Montana where I am living is right along I-90 between Billings and Big Timber, so I have been rambling around those areas.  Saturday morning, I got up and wandered over to Big Timber.  To be honest, I probably wasted more gas wandering around this week than I should of, but it was a pretty drive every time!  I absolutely loved finding this herd of cows on the side of the road.  I've always had a soft spot for a Hereford, and this cow was just too much to pass by without snapping a picture to share!

The Yellowstone River flows pretty close to I-90 for most of the distance from Billings to Big Timber and there were so many spots where I would love to stop and take pictures to share, but the thing I have discovered is that no camera can compare to what you can see with your eyes.

After my trip over to Big Timber, I stopped in Columbus to visit my cousin Jeannie and her family.  I love hanging out with Jeannie and her crew and jumped at the chance to enjoy the afternoon and supper with them.  Jeannie and I have a blast together and getting to spend more time with her is one of the things I've looked forward to the most about my move!  She and her Husband have a place right outside of town with lots of animals and room to run and play!  Before we could fix dinner, we had to milk the cow and the goat!  I say we- really I just watched!
After that, we enjoyed an awesome supper of steak and potatoes that Jeremy grilled.  We even topped our steaks with home-made goat cheese (SUPER YUM!!) that Jeannie and the girls had made.

Sunday morning, I worshiped with the small congregation that meets in Laurel.  They were very kind and welcoming and I am looking forward to getting to know them even better in the future!  Its a very small building and a small group, but the singing felt like home!  (I can't usually say that when I travel)

Monday I began looking for a job.  I realized when I was getting dressed that morning that its been 10 years since I've interviewed for a job and I didn't really pack many "job interview" clothes to bring with me!  So far, I've turned in 7 or 8 applications and haven't heard anything.  I have to keep reminding myself that I only started looking on Sunday!  But the good thing about not having a job yet is that I have had time to check out Stillwater County's Youth Fair.

Bailey is a first year 4H member and completed several different projects this year.  Tuesday and Wednesday, She showed her dog, Gus in the obedience and agility contests. Gus is a Catahoula-Border Collie cross and just as sweet as can be!  I think this was Bailey's favorite project that she did for the Fair.  

The other little blond in the picture is Bailey's younger sister, Addison (aka Addy Lou). She's not old enough to show anything yet, but I'm sure she'll be ready when it gets to be her turn to show!

On Thursday, she showed her horse Rosie and won the Trail Class!  and today, she showed her Saanan Milk Goat in the Dairy Goat show.  She was one of two kids who showed goats at their fair.  Evidently the other kids in Columbus haven't seen many goats, since they are all fascinated with watching Bailey milk her goat!

Thursday afternoon, Angie, Mesa and I met some of their friends up at the Cooney Dam Reservoir to swim.  What an amazing view!  The water felt about like it does the first time you jump in the springs, but I'm not sure what the temperature was.  There were some boats out on the other side, but where we were was a perfect spot to swim with the kids!  I can't wait to go back again!  

Hopefully, next time I post, I'll be able to share some good news on the job front!  Until then... 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

We Have Arrived!

 We started off the day SUPER early... like I was WIDE AWAKE at quarter to 5 this morning... ugh.  After 30 minutes of pretending that I was going to go back to sleep, I got up and started getting ready to leave Nebraska.   After a quick stop to fill up the gas tank and get a cup of coffee, we headed out on Interstate 80 around 6:30am.  

As we drove along, we saw several things that I wasnt quite sure about... like this bridge and the three of these things that looked like plane wings... I finally figured out this afternoon while driving across Wyoming that they were blades of the windmills.

Before I left, I purchased one of the as seen on TV "Grip Go" phone holders so that I could keep my phone where I could see it to use as a GPS... I figured out as I drove along that it also makes and awesome dash camera mount when turned sideways (all I have to do is turn the camera on and tap the button... holds it steadier than I can) and thanks to my Iphone's other camera, I did manage to get a picture of my copilot as she was checking out what was coming up ahead of us!  If only I could teach her to take the pictures for me!

 Our next gas stop happened to coincide with a sort of planned stop in Ogallala, Nebraska... hello, can you say Lonesome Dove?  Who wouldn't stop if they got the chance!  It started raining about the time was pumping my gas, so I didn't get out and explore, but I did get to snap a pic of the very cool mural that greets visitors to the town!
 After a quick discussion with Rusty, I decided to switch roads at this point and take US26 through the sandhills of western nebraska and I'm so glad I did.   This was my second time driving through part of western Nebraska, on a different road this time, but it was just as pretty if not prettier than last time!  I will however say that I'm glad I filled up my gas tank before I headed out since when I got headed from Ogallala to Scotts Bluff, the price of gas went up like 50 cents a gallon!  (Serious case of supply and demand!)
 As I was driving, I saw lots of pretty farmhouses and barns like this one.  I wish I had someone just taking pictures, because I missed so much that I would have loved to share... like the cowboy driving about 6 head of Angus bulls down the fence line, or the herd of Hereford cows grazing on the hillside... and some of it my camera just wouldn't do justice to... just know it was a beautiful sight, and I think that part of Nebraska might be one of the prettiest in our country!

 The other cool thing about driving the route I took is that it followed the Oregon Trail... hello... one of my TWO favorite childhood computer games!  And when I passed Chimney Rock, I couldn't resist the chance to stop and snap a few pictures!  Although to be honest, I really expected it to be taller...

My afternoon was spent driving across Wyoming... let me tell you about Wyoming... This is the second time I've driven this one also, and my opinion hasn't changed much there either... its either really pretty, or really boring... either way... it was a LONG afternoon.

Around 5pm I crossed the state line and made it into Montana, and then had to drive another hour and a half to reach my final destination.  Of course, I did stop in Billings to meet my Uncle & Aunt where they were using their team of Percherons to rake some hay they're going to be baling tomorrow.  (I'm sure there will be a post to follow on that topic!)

When I called to get directions to the field, my 6 year old cousin answered the phone with "Are You My Cousin?"  She doesn't have the best memory, but when I got there, she said she recognized me!  She and Lucy quickly made friends and I'm thinking my dog is gonna like her better than me before long!  Whether she recognized me or not, she was quick to load up with Lucy and I when I offered to take her home before they finished raking the hay... I'm thinking she's tired of making hay!  (Either that or she just wanted McDonalds for dinner, ha)

I love the panoramic feature on my iphone... and I love the lighting when we arrived at their place tonight!  What a view!  Tomorrow will be a lot of unpacking and settling in... so, until next time...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

13 hours later... Tom Bodette left the light on!

It's been a long day that started about 6am and will hopefully end when I finish posting tonight.  This morning, we traveled through Arkansas, (covering some pretty windy roads in the Ozarks) Missouri, and a corner of Iowa and have finally ended up in York, Nebraska for the night... a total of about 18 hours of driving. 

My copilot has napped and lounged on her side of the car and even attempted to make it over to my lap a couple of times this afternoon.  She did manage to roust up every time I had something to eat that wasn't nuts or fruit.   

After we made it out of the Ozarks, we zipped through Missouri (I say zipped like it wasn't 4 hours)  and made our way to Kansas City.  This was one place that I wanted to visit, since I haven't been there since high school and the last time I remember being there, I spent a whole lot of time not sure where I was.   Of the three places I wanted to find, I was able to find 2, and I might have been looking in the wrong place for the third, but I tried...

I really wanted to eat dinner at the Golden Ox, but since it was the middle of the afternoon, and I had decided to try to make it to Lincoln before I stopped for the night, I just snapped a couple of pictures and headed back out.   The one thing I couldn't find was the FFA marker that was supposed to be where the old Baltimore hotel is located... maybe I'll get to go back some other time and find that one! 

After a quick stop for Gas, we headed up Interstate 29 with plans to make it to Lincoln by about 7pm, giving us a full 12 hour day and a good start on where we wanted to be tomorrow night.   When we arrived at Interstate 80 in Lincoln and started looking for a hotel, I got a reminder of what to expect when traveling out west... always gas up and always stop when you see what you want the first time, because there might not be another one for a long time!  We ended up driving an extra 30 minutes before stopping and then had to find a hotel that had pet friendly rooms available.  We finally found a room at the 3rd hotel/motel/holiday inn (can you hear the beat?)  which happened to be the Motel 6. 

 I decided that I couldn't stay at the Motel 6 for the first time ever, and not document the room... which actually was... very modern, but very clean- and only cost $65 for the night.  ( good deal, right?)

And as a parting shot,  Who wouldn't love this sweet face that I left sleeping in Arkansas this morning!  He's growing so fast and turning into little Mr. Personality... I can't wait to see what he's like next time I see him! 
Until Next Time...

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Tough Goodbye

I downloaded the new Gary Allan record on iTunes the other day, it's pretty good.   The first song is "Tough Goodbye" and I thought that was a very fitting description of my Sunday.  I spent my last couple of weeks in Florida staying in the guest room (AKA the room I grew up in)  at Mom & Dad's house.  The last two weeks were filled with packing (which I truly despise)  and getting in last minute visits with so many of my dear friends.  I wish I had taken pictures with all of the people who helped send me off in style, but I forgot.  ( What I won't forget is all the encouragement and love I felt from those who mean so much to me!) 

Friday afternoon, Rusty and Daddy strapped the turtle topper (Thanks Kalyn & Daniel) to the top of my car and loaded it as full as we could get it.  I drove it around the next day so I could get used to the feeling of driving my SUV with it attached.  Saturday night, mom and I packed the last of my stuff that I decided to take in the back of the car and I went to bed.  AND I COULDN'T SLEEP.  Sunday morning came bright and early and Lucy looked confused as we packed up her crate and didn't get far from the door (for fear of being left).  With the last of everything loaded in the car, I said the hardest goodbye I've ever said to my Momma & Daddy.  Daddy said a prayer and I got in the car and headed out of the drive way.  (To be completely honest, the thought of leaving them is the only thing that made me question my decision to go... and still brings tears to my eyes. ) (Girls, I'm reminded of our study of Ruth and the concept of "weeping forward") 

I met Rusty & Lisa in Perry where we attended worship services with our Friends Dan & Alicia Chaney before beginning the 12 hour drive to their house.   I did manage to snap a picture of the Alabama sign, but failed to get the Mississippi and Arkansas signs since it was very dark at that point in time.  

After trying to catch up on my sleep, I spent today playing with Veda and Tipton, making a visit to Atwoods to stock up on my favorite caramel candies, and repacking the car so I'm ready to head out early tomorrow morning.

So... until next time...